Detective Science


We are a few days into our detective science quest and theories are flying. Over Christmas break I set up a crime scene in our makerspace upstairs. I told the learners that there was a break-in and some important files were stolen. It was the Eagle’s job to look at the evidence and determine who stole those files.

This quest is designed to help the learners develop their skills in observation and deduction. They are responsible for determining what information is important and what information is just muddying the waters. At the end of each day we discuss the new details they discovered and whether they would feel comfortable bringing a case against one of our suspects in court. They certainly feel the weight of the topic because not a single one of them has said that they are certain enough to bring one of our suspects to trial yet.

Day 1 consisted of examining the crime scene, marking evidence, and taking detailed notes about the layout, size, and position of all the items within the taped off area. Our learners discovered fingerprints, footprints, a piece of cheese with a bite taken out of it, and a whole bunch of other minute details that may or may not help them down the road in their investigation.

Day 2 was when they really started getting their hands dirty. It was time to figure out who those fingerprints belong to. For the fingerprints found on aluminum foil they chose to use cyanoacrylate fumes to enhance the print so it could be seen more easily. The second set of prints was dusted then lifted with tape off of the file from which our important documents were stolen. They then had to compare those fingerprints to the sets of prints that we had on file for our prime suspects. Fortunately this was also the day that they got to stop accusing each other of stealing the files because they took their own fingerprints and none of their prints were found at the scene,

Day 3 was time to determine the approximate height of our suspect based on their shoe prints. Each of the Eagles measured their own shoe and then their height to get a ratio that they could apply to the print found at the crime scene.

So far the Eagles have linked both pieces of evidence to the same person, but they don’t know that yet. For the sake of removing bias, I haven’t assigned a name or consistent number to the information gathered from our suspects. Tomorrow we analyze the handwriting from the note left at the crime scene and reveal the names associated with each piece of evidence. followed by hair analysis, facial reconstruction, and dental identification. We’re hot on the trail and someone’s going to jail!

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