What Happened Here?! Inferencing a Crime Scene

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TSWBAT make inferences and draw conclusions after viewing an obvious crime scene.

Big Idea

Clue into a situation by making inferences.

Warm Up

15 minutes

It is close to the end of the school year, and I want to review the inferencing we've been practicing with an interesting method that's built for the skill....the Crime Scene.  It's an interactive and exciting way for the kids to put themselves directly in a natural situation for drawing conclusions about an event. 

I begin the lesson with a few questions to review inferencing.  We use the Smart Board to write inference based questions, and when inferencing would be useful.  This leads into the conversation of how inferencing would help a crime scene.  I have worksheets with a supposed crime scene shown, a Crime Scene Map, and the kids have to look for what inferences they would make if this were a real scene.  They do this individually.  They write inference questions a detective would use if investigating the scene.

The crime scene map the kids are using is one I create after I have actually made the crime scene in the other room.  I want them to recognize the scene as soon as they walk through the door in the next section.

I pass out a modified version of the Inference Incident Index (I-3) that they used during the Inference Escapade.  This is a familiar worksheet and they adapt to it right away.  

Application at the Crime Scene

25 minutes

The crime scene is all ready to go in an empty classroom in the 5th grade cove.  I figure out how I want the crime scene to look like, then make a copy of the layout as a worksheet-Crime Scene Map- for the kids to use for the warm up.  I include as many details as possible.  It's a great moment when the kids walk in and recognize it from the papers they were using to infer.  I half expected them to recognize the shape of the room in the Crime Scene Map, but managed to throw them off enough to make it a complete shock when they literally walked into the real life scene.  Just what I wanted!

This is one of those times when I allow them to choose who they'd like to work with.  We're in May with only a few days left in school, and if I can't beat 'em, I'd best join 'em.  Presenting this lesson earlier in the year, I'd select their groups.  Using the Crime Scene Case File Incident Report they record details and make inferences about what may have taken place.  There is time for everyone to analyze each section of the room.

Here is a slide show of the kids as they view the Crime Scene. Note: volume on the video is on mute.


15 minutes

I keep them in the crime scene room so they can better explain their inferences and hypotheses about what happened.  The kids sit on the floor (most likely the crime scene is taking up regular seating) or stand to the side while the person or group presenting "conducts their investigation results" to the rest.  Many of them wanted to take their turn standing behind the yellow tape in the Crime Scene to share their theory of what happened that fateful day.  It's perfect to end the lesson this way because the kids are proud of their inferences and can't wait to let everyone know.  Citing evidence is an important skill of CCS and this is an outstanding way to encourage students to exercise that skill with enthusiasm. 

Student Samples 1

Student Samples 2

Student Samples 3

Student Samples 4

Student Samples 5

Side note...with so many differing opinions, a separate lesson on comparing and contrasting the healthy number of ideas would be fun.

Here is a slide show of the pictures and student samples.  If you click on the slideshow it takes you to kizoa.com.