Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Forensics, anyone?

Working with gifted students can be challenging.  It challenges me to think outside the box, to step out of my own comfort zone, and to let go.  That letting go part is tough for me since I always worry that there is something they won't get...I'm sort of a control freak in that way.  But as this past year began to wind down, I felt more and more comfortable with letting them go.  My kiddos learn better that way, and since I teach to help kids learn, I've got to work in a way that they are successful.

Having said that, I at least want structure for what I've planned.  I won't interrupt...I will let them fail...I will let them lead their own learning, but I want to at least have a plan and outline so that they will head in the general direction I need them to.   And I plan big!  This year I want to incorporate forensics into the curriculum.  I think it is so engaging and new and real life...my classes will love it!

So on to the planning...

Currently I'm looking for resources that will help me plan a forensics activity.  Do you know of any good ones?  I'd really like a small kick off event for the first couple of days, but something a little deeper for 8th grade chemistry.  So far, here's what I've found.  If you've got great resources, I'd love to hear about them.

I inherited a GEMS book entitled, Mystery Festival.  It has a 5 day activity for both 3-5 and 6-8.  I love it!  It's detailed, but requires extensive set up and volunteers to run it smoothly.  Hmmm...really would like to make this one work!

I found a classroom webpage, My Science 8, that has another unit that I believe incorporates different teachers as the suspects...clever!

Indiana University also has put together 3 lessons.

TruTV has an entire section devoted to using forensics in the classroom.  They have plans for even higher level students as well.

NSTA also has some publications on forensics and Forensics in Chemistry is my next purchase!

If you are looking for some career information, you can find a great deal of information at Forensicscience.org

And...God Bless The Science Spot for sharing so much about everything... Here is a 9 week unit!

Another teacher's website with more links than I had time to look through in one afternoon!

And, Livebinder has some great resources as well.


Jenneuse said...

I just finished the mystery festival with 125 fifth graders. I put together all the components several years ago and just pulled it out of the big tub and it worked like a champ. I did not need a volunteer. The set up looks like a lot but if you are used to setting up labs it is not that big a deal. The kids love it and it runs like clock work. It doesn't have a set solution, just like a real life murder. I would beef up some of the chemistry for 8th grade. My e-mail is neusej@ltisdschools.org if you have any questions.

Kathryn said...

I haven't used it (yet) but I know there's a TI book on forensics. If you have TI graphing calculators and access to any probeware, it may be worth looking into.

Miss B

Susan Cahalane said...

Hi Jena! I do the GEMS Mystery Festival with my summer science camp kids - they absolutely LOVE solving the mystery! The set-up takes forever but it is really worth it. I just found your blog through Mrs. Harris's science blog linky - I'm your newest follower!
Science for Kids Blog

Caught in the Middle said...

Thanks for all of your feedback! Kathryn, I wish I had graphing calculators, but not at this time. What a great idea, though and I will look into it. Susan and Jenneuse, thanks for the feedback on the GEMS Mystery Festival. I guess my next question is, is this challenging enough to hold the attention of gifted students? Thanks again for the help!!

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