Children at Beech Grove Primary School, Wellington, found themselves at the centre of a ‘crime’ when they arrived at school at the start of last week. From then on, the whole school – including staff, parents, families and carers – were involved in the ongoing investigation.
It was, though, all part of the children’s learning. The school’s science co-ordinator and class teacher Glenn Hampson explained: “When the children came in on Monday they found that the House Shields’ board (used to show the stars they collect) had been stolen by one of 4 suspects – all teachers here. The ‘crime scene’ is the assembly hall and throughout the week the children have been involved in a forensic investigation in mixed-age workshops to solve the ‘crime’.”
This ingenious and imaginative project included filming and broadcasting news’ updates with presenters in an authentic ‘newsroom’, recorded interviews with witnesses and suspects and observations of the investigators (dressed appropriately in protective paper overalls) at work. The ‘crime scene’ was secured with yellow tape, footprints assessed and evidence processed. Children across the age range have been involved in creative activities writing newspaper articles and news presentations as well as learning about forensic science.
As part of the week’s project the whole school joined in a Fizz Pop Science workshop where a mad chemist illustrated the many wonders of dry ice. After school, parents, carers and families were challenged to create the fastest ballon-powered ‘getaway car’ from card, balsa wood and drinking straws.
Glenn Hampson said, “We had more workshops related to the ‘crime’ throughout the week and lots of families joined us for the challenge. Last year we had a Science Day and there was a really good response so we turned it into a week.”
At the end of the project the ‘case’ may have been closed – crime solved, House Shields’ board recovered and the culprit identified – but more importantly, the pupils will have learned a great deal – and enjoyed learning too.