Partners in Crime – Who’s Guilty?

November 23, 2018 at 10:32 AM

The College Science Centre was transformed to a crime scene this week, as Year 9 students set about solving a ‘grisly crime.’ Who was responsible for the untimely (fictitious!) demise of science teacher, Mr Gerard Hodgson. Was one of his fellow teachers responsible? How could the students solve the crime?

With exams over and Year 10 away at Field Centre, our Year 9 students have embarked on their end of year ‘Home Centre’- a programme of academic, service, leadership and team building activities, with plenty of fun thrown into the mix!

The first four days have been focussed on ‘Fusion’ - a thematic learning programme making cross-curricular connections between Mathematics, English, Social Studies and Science. With a full day focussed on each core subject, students were challenged to develop their skills in problem solving, curiosity, critical thinking, creativity, communication and collaboration.

In a mix of C.S.I. meets Cluedo, science students were faced with a fictional crime to solve, using newfound scientific skills and knowledge. Having investigated the scene of Mr Hodgson’s untimely end, taking photos and making notes, they then watched video interviews before setting about eliminating suspects and narrowing down the guilty party. From learning to take finger prints and working out the possible ballistic ranges of the fatal paint ball, to using chromatography to examine ink samples found at the crime scene, and analysing hair, fibre and pollen samples under the microscope, the students put their best detective foot forward to determine the ‘criminal.’

Meanwhile in mathematics, the students used mathematical functions and reasoning to crack codes and solve several clues to find their ‘criminal’.  Each of the clues was challenging and tested their algebra, frequency analysis knowledge and coordinate geometry skills. Each correct answer put them one step closer to solving the crime. The mathematicians also watched the movie, ‘Hidden Figures,’ to see how the use of applied mathematical knowledge aided NASA’s race to put a man in space.

In English, the students explored the features of crime stories through different genres and text types. This was the first time that the Year 9s had studied crime as a genre, gaining an understanding of how to create suspense and include red herrings to keep the reader engaged. The students prepared their own storyboards and went on to a podcast and short film. 

In social studies, the students explored crime as a global issue and researched ‘famous’ criminals of the past. Working collaboratively in small groups, they picked a ‘person of interest’ to research, presenting their findings back to the class.

 Overall, each unit was successful and the students thoroughly enjoyed themselves!

So who did it? Who popped the fatal shot at Mr Hodgson? As the crime was investigated four times over, by four different sets of students, to prevent the first group from sharing their findings, the clues were changed daily – there are four science teachers now targeted for more ‘in-depth investigation!’

(Happily, Mr Hodgson actually survived the ordeal)


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