How to Stage an Easy Classroom Crime Scene Investigation

Looking for an easy classroom crime scene investigation? This ready-to-use simulation includes the scenario, photos, suspects and their statements, and directions. All you need to do is set up the CSI experiments.

How can you use this project? Let me count the ways!

  • Add it to your mystery genre study.
  • Use it to make science fun.
  • Slot it in before a break or at the end of the year.
  • Offer it as a class prize.
  • And the list goes on!

Any time you stage it, this classroom crime scene will engage your students and encourage critical thinking.

Let’s take a peek at the multi-day project:

1. Use a photo to set the stage for your classroom crime scene investigation.

Small classroom? No problem. This scenario requires no physical set-up or roping off. Kids view the crime scene in a picture.

Someone has taken a set of Dr. Seuss books. Evidence includes a smeared note, powder, drink (Diet Coke), and fingerprints.

Instead of setting up your own crime scene, simply use the photo that's included.
Are you feeling “pinspired”? Feel free to pin images from this post.

2. Learn about the suspects with wanted posters and interviews.

Four wanted posters introduce suspects in the classroom crime scene investigation. Additionally, kids read transcripts of each suspect’s interview with the police. With these documents, students determine opportunity and motive – and maybe a few more clues.

Posters of four suspects and police interviews are included.

3. Observe suspects’ desks and take notes.

Next, kids observe pictures of the suspects’ desks. Items like powders, drinks, and writing utensils provide even more information for the classroom crime scene investigation.

Kids observe photos of each suspect's desk and take notes on what they find there.

4. Match fingerprints from the crime scene with the suspects.

A simple worksheet lets kids explore fingerprints – and determine whose appeared at the scene of the crime.

Next in the investigation, kids match fingerprints at the crime scene with those of the suspects.

5. Test mystery powders.

In the first science lab, kids observe and experiment with four powders. Then the teacher shows a picture of the powder found at the scene of the crime, as well as information about it. Kids then deduce which powder matches.

The crime scene investigation continues with a mystery powders lab.

6. Continue classroom crime scene investigation with chromatography.

In the second science experiment, students use coffee filters to determine which ink runs like the one in the crime scene photo.

To match the suspects' writing utensils with the one used for the note, kids continue their crime scene investigation with chromatography.

7. To culminate your classroom crime scene investigation, reveal the guilty party.

After kids have gathered all evidence, they decide who’s guilty. Then, as a culmination, they read a news release from the police department – and find out if they’re right.

As a grand finale to your crime scene investigation, reveal the press release - and the guilty party!

Enjoy Teaching

Sure, classroom crime scene investigations engage kids like never before. But they also help teachers enjoy their profession. Try this mystery simulation. Everyone in your classroom (including you) will look forward to coming to school each day.

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