Home School Life Journal From Preschool to High School

Home School Life Journal ........... Ceramics by Katie Bergenholtz
"Let us strive to make each moment beautiful."
Saint Francis DeSales

Solving the Mystery

This week students organized the information they have been getting by analyzing the crime scene map and the lab work they have completed.
 To facilitate their organization of the clues, I took a piece of poster-board and divided it into columns which I headed with the suspects names.
Then we reviewed each of the clues that they could get from the crime scene map...
and the lab work they completed and they evaluated what implications of each clue and put it in the proper column or columns (some clues could implicate more than one person.) 
We then went over each clue and determined whether it was something that definitely implicated that person or whether it indicated that it could be evidence to implicate that person. For the ones that were definite, we outlined them with a marker. We discussed the possibilities of who had committed the crime and talked about whether the suspects had the means (the ability) to commit the crime and what the possible motive (the reason the suspect committed the crime) might be.
We then made a timeline of the events as stated in the statements from the suspects. To make the process easier, we assumed that everything that the suspects said was the truth from their point of view and that the murderer just left out the part where the crime was committed. This helped the students to see the sequence of events and when the suspects had opportunity (whether the suspect had the chance to commit the crime).
I then took a show of hands for each suspect to see which students thought which suspect committed the crime. (There were a few who thought it was multiple people working together.) Based on this, I broke the students up into groups with similar thought and asked them to come up with a story about what happened the night that Mr. Body was killed. (We even had a group that felt that Mr. Body had committed suicide.)
After some time, I had them come back together and each group was allowed to present their case and the rest of the class was allowed to ask questions or ask for facts to back up their story's details. When all the groups were finished, I took another vote and discovered that the stories changed some people's minds.
I did not tell them who I had intended to be the criminal because next semester we are going to take the criminal(s) who the class voted to be the most likely to have committed the crime to trial, and I want them to see through this process how important it is to have solid evidence to convict a criminal. It is a learning process!
As a follow-up to this class, we also had a Mock Trials class. We based the entire Mock Trials class on the information we had gotten from this class. 


  1. Brilliant. I bet everyone loved this series!

  2. As I have said a million times, I LOVE the way you homeschool. This is the coolest.

  3. I love then taking it to trial, what a great follow on activity.

  4. Ooh I just love how you are bringing in the justice process now!

  5. I would love to have copies of the suspects' statements. Is this still possible???

    Thank you!!!


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