They are designed to teach targets in the biology, chemistry and physics areas of the 3-18 science curriculum and articulate with the four areas of ACfE [Word – 26.5 KB]. They can also be used in Science Clubs. Teachers can choose combinations of modules to suit the work in hand. Can be used as part of an assessment of skills and knowledge but is intended to be fun! The actual parts of the four areas of AcfE we think they overcome are shown in red on the Word document provided (ACfE Forensics) of the four key areas.
Θ Introduce students to the kind of evidence-based objective investigation that permeates science
Θ Develop sound practical laboratory skills and an ability to work cooperatively and efficiently with others.
Θ Improve students’ manipulative skills and ability to apply understanding in a novel situation
To set the scene, the Introductory Powerpoint [1.4 MB] should be shown. Teacher crime scene Info [Word – 220.5 KB]. The nicknames are not important but can be mentioned in passing. ‘The Spot’ because he never misses a penalty, ‘Prof’ because he is magic at chemistry, ‘Brains’ because of his glasses and ‘Brains’ in Thunderbirds and ‘Smiler’ because she never does anything else, no matter what happens.
Each of the Units is designed as ‘stand alone’, although the Soil Unit requires the Introduction to be done first. If the soil units on pH and Flame Tests are to be attempted, then the soil Analysis (filtration) must be carried out first. Detective – Covers for each of the Units [Word – 452.5 KB].
Each Unit has its own PowerPoint introduction. These are optional and staff may wish to issue to Detective sheets instead. (These can of course be issued as well as the PowerPoints shown). Many of these PowerPoints have the discussion questions illustrated in them. The relevant Discussion Sheets can also be issued. Labels for exhibits [Word – 20 KB].
Whether using the Detective sheets or PowerPoints, the main thrust is in promoting discussion. To this end students should work in groups.
This is also the case in experimental work. Groups should be encouraged to make their own notes through the use of the Discussion Points and Sheets for each experiment (although alternative Question Sheets are often provided for less able students). Group Decision Cards [Word – 4.01 MB].
When trialing the materials, we used the technique of Cooperative Learning to promote discussion. We got the groups to do different experiments and then mixed them up into new groups, with students tasked with explaining to others in the group, the experiment they had done, the evidence they had investigated and the conclusions they had come to on the basis of that evidence. This is deliberately not always cut and dried. Red Herrings are liberally swimming around in the units! Identifying the actual culprit (Jamie Jenkins) is not as important as learning the experimental techniques, engaging in cooperative learning and taking part in discussions.
Pupils were encouraged to record their findings on the Group Discussion Cards. These were laminated and pieces of velcro stuck on them. We used a board with the subject profiles velcrod on the board. Groups could then simply stick their card beside the profile of their suspect for that piece of evidence. The evidence was then allowed to build up. Profiles of suspects for Velcro Board [Word – 224 KB]. Who Dunnit Evidence Summary Card.
The Experiment cards [Word – 4.87 MB] were all laminated to make them reusable.
Station Cards were laminated and folded in half to give a visual display of where the experiment was.