During the 1st week, both my 7th and 8th grade classes learned about the scientific process through a murder mystery. Can I hear an "Oooooh!" I would highly recommend it for anyone that is looking for beginning the year with a bang. The kids loved it! And although we didn't do much in the way of setting up procedures, we did a lot of cooperative work and getting to know you types of fun.
I used the GEMS book, "Mystery Festival." It does take some time to set it up, but well worth it. In the end, students had to present their case to our school's resource officer that took time to speak to students about how the technology in forensics has changed in the past several years.