OIS Crime Investigation

The last time we checked in with Group 7, the students were knee-deep into a training to become Junior Investigators.

By Gina van Vliet, Group 7B Teacher

As part of our Mile Post 3 IPC unit “Investigators,” the children investigated a crime that took place on (or around) 7th November. Four froggies – the class 7A mascots – were confiscated/kidnapped. At the same time, the Group 6 Chromebooks mysteriously vanished as well. In their investigations, the children literally didn’t leave a stone unturned!

Who is the culprit?

The Junior Investigator Training course consisting of 8 meaty science tasks that would ultimately lead to the one culprit amongst five suspects: Ms. Kelly; Ms. Gina; Ms. Nola; Ms. Angelique and Mr. Henry. The children learned at the very beginning of their investigation that the suspects are innocent until proven guilty.

Through the use of Scientific Investigation sheets, children quickly became familiar with scientific vocabulary, such as hypothesis, fair investigation (does that mean everyone gets a turn?), equipment, method and conclusion. We learned about which materials are insulators or conductors of heat. After investigating tea samples found at the crime scene, we also created a time line that enabled us to estimate around what time the froggies were confiscated. Last but not least, we investigate the ransom note left at the scene through chromatography. This is a technique for the separation of a mixture by passing it in solution or suspension through a medium in which the components move at different rates.

The children thoroughly questioned our last two remaining suspects – Ms. Kelly and Ms. Gina. The Group 7 children proved to be difficult detectives to mislead! “If you say you made tea around 7:30 a.m. on the Monday morning and you gave a cup to Ms. Kelly in the hallway and you placed yours on your desk, how is it that you did not see the crime scene until 8:00 a.m. if the police were here during the weekend?” Akshara (7B) asked Ms. Gina sternly.

Finger prints were taken and writing samples were gathered. With hawk’s eyes, the children compared these to the evidence from the crime scene on our IPC boards. Finally, they concluded that Ms. Gina’s story didn’t truly match the story line matching the crime scene. To make matters worse, her finger prints matched those found at the crime scene and the marker she submitted for evidence didn’t separate the colours in the last chromatography test (unlike Ms. Kelly’s). Neither did the ransom note when it was dipped in water…

The confession

On Tuesday afternoon, December 13, Ms. Colleen entered the classroom and explained that she had been in touch with the Chief of Police as she had heard the children were ready to solve the case. Our Junior Investigators then officially accused Ms. Gina of stealing the 7A mascots. Ms. Colleen got a teary confession out of Ms. Gina, who then showed everyone she kept the four frogs in her classroom cupboard all along! She was subsequently led out of the classroom by Ms. Colleen in a “citizen’s arrest” in front of a partly excited (froggy’s return) partly shocked (farewell teacher?) Group 7.

Fortunately, the students did understand this was all part of an IPC unit and the crime was staged. Ms. Anne Marie spoke to Group 7 the following morning just to make sure the students don’t really secretly believe Ms. Gina is a notorious criminal. They all earned Junior Forensic Investigator certificates that morning, which were certainly well-deserved.

Where will our next IPC unit lead us? We can already promise you it will be an out-of-this-world adventure!