Contrary to what Sherlock Holmes may have told Watson, criminal investigation is not so elementary. These days, detectives use a vast array of tools to solve crimes. In this project, students delve into the world of criminal investigation and learn how forensic scientists collect, analyze, and process evidence to solve a crime. In preparation for solving a simulated classroom "crime," students engage in deductive reasoning activities and practice math and science forensics labs. Then, using the scientific inquiry process, they collect clues, test and analyze evidence, and draw conclusions to solve the crime. Student groups use a graphic organizer to determine the relationships between the evidence and the suspects to help solve the classroom crime.
View how a variety of student-centered assessments are used in the Forensics Unit Plan. These assessments help students and teachers set goals; monitor student progress; provide feedback; assess thinking, processes, performances, products; and reflect on learning throughout the learning cycle.
Prior to Instruction
Introducing Crime Investigation
Building Crime-Solving Skills
Developing Deductive Reasoning Skills
Solving a crime involves good thinking skills. During math, have students engage in daily logic activities to help them improve their deductive reasoning and logical thinking skills. Each day of the investigation, have students do a deductive reasoning skill-building activity, such as solving a mystery of the day, doing puzzles involving deductive reasoning, participating in exercises to practice problem-solving strategies, and solving a mini-mystery.
Developing Diagramming Skills
Introducing the Crime
With scientific analysis and logical thinking skills in hand, students are ready to investigate a "crime" that occurred in their very own classroom.
Investigating a Crime
Collecting Evidence and Conducting Lab Tests
English Language Learner
Theresa Maves, a science teacher and Meile Harris, a math teacher, at O'Leary Junior High School in Twin Falls, Idaho developed and implemented this unit.
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This unit is aligned to Common Core State Standards for Math.