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CSI - Crime School Investigation

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Keywords: Investigations, Mysteries
Subject(s): Science, Photography, English/Language Arts, Algebra, Writing, Math, Chemistry
Grade 5
School: Madill Elementary School, Madill, OK
Planned By: Terri Cloyde
Original Author: Terri Cloyde, Madill
Students gather fingerprints of every available student and adult in their school and classify them according to sex, age, and fingerprint type. (There are three major fingerprint classifications: loop, whirl, and ridge). They create a file similar to what law enforcement agencies keep to identify new prints they encounter. Students create mathematical graphs, fractions, and percentages to show how the different classifications relate to each other. For example: In the entire school 45% of the fingerprints on file are whirls, 38% are loops and 17% are ridges. Of the whirl fingerprints 52% are female and 48% are male. Of the female whirl fingerprints 87% are students. These and other facts can be shown using circle graphs, bar, double bar, triple bar and histographs. Students can do these comparisons individually or in small groups or teams. Photographs of a variety of body parts may also be helpful items to have on file. Pictures of eyes, ears, hands and feet to establish a variety of different areas that might be used in solving mysteries. For example: If a pierced earring were dropped at the crime scene, students could check and see how many people had pierced ears and rule out those that did not. Or a fake fingernail is found, or a shoe print, or a witness noticed an eye color. . .

Once their file and information is completed, they will be given a crime scene in which students can gather information, including lifting fingerprints off various items and matching the prints with those on file. Several prints may be found and the students could then match timelines and alibis. Crime scene photos can be taken and compared to allow several student groups to analyze and work on different crime scenes at the same time.

Students can also read and solve short mystery stories individually or in teams each day. As the students inductive reasoning skills increase students may begin to write short mysteries using clues that must be followed to find the solution and share their stories with other students. Bringing in a FBI agent or police officer to interview also shows students what real-life value their classwork has and increases the interest level.
All of the above skills are testable under the No Child Left Behind bill for fifth graders in our state and conform with National Standards.
Materials: Timeline, Science, Math, Flash/USB Drives, Point and Shoot
Other Items: 25 Sherlock Holmes Stories, $1.95 each, total of $48.75
1 The Case of the Missing Mascot, $125.00 each, total of $125.00
1 The Case of the Lost Skull, $150.00 each, total of $150.00
1 Elementary Crime Solving, $63.20 each, total of $63.20
1 Mystery Books, $17.95 each, total of $17.95
20 Index Cards (set of 100), $3.00 each, total of $60.00
1 Short Mystery Detective Stories, $20.00 each, total of $20.00
1 Fingerprinting poster set, $8.95 each, total of $8.95
25 Mystery Stories, $1.95 each, total of $48.75