A WebQuest for 4th Grade Science
The eccentric widow of the late archeologist Bartholomew Gotrox, Mrs. Dixie Gotrox, has just returned from a trip to Africa. She has returned to her home to her cat, Agnes, lounging on the front stoop with the door wide open! Mrs. Gotrox rushed directly to her bedroom to find it in a shambles. Her jewels are scattered about the room. The mounted tiger fish her husband brought back from an excursion on the Nile is crushed. Worst of all, the royal shell necklace Bartholomew discovered in a Hawaiian volcano is missing! Mrs. Gotrox is devastated. She is calling upon you, forensic experts to find the necklace.
Detectives, it is your mission to locate the necklace and bring the thief to justice. The thief has left several clues. Take note of anything that might seem useful in solving the crime.
Each detective unit will conduct experiments on the clues. Detectives will analyze fingerprints, a mystery substance, and ink identification. Each detective will keep a detective log of the suspects, evidence, clues, and final solution.
After experiments have been conducted, detectives will share their observations and predictions. Each unit will write a paragraph about who the criminal is and the evidence that supports their theory.
Each detective unit will consist of four students. Assign the following jobs to each member: Lead Detective, Materials handler, Scientist, Recorder/Photographer.
Using a digital camera have the group photographer record the experiments.
Each unit will conduct experiments on the clues using the Scientific Method. Detectives will fill in their logs at the end of each class period.
DAY 1: FINGERPRINTING
Detectives will make fingerprint samples using ink stamp pads. Detectives will identify their prints as arches, loops, or whorls. Detectives will need to study the prints of the suspects and determine what their print is.
DAY 2: MYSTERY SUBSTANCE
Detectives will take a sample of a mystery substance found at the crime scene and determine the pH level of the substance. Detectives will test the substances found on the suspects.
DAY 3: INK IDENTIFICATION
Detectives will use the ransom note to test. Detectives will use various ink pens and coffee filters to test the different kinds of ink.
DAY 4: ISSUE A WARRANT
Units will get together and share results of the experiments and their logs. Each unit will write a paragraph on who they think the criminal is. The judge (teacher) will then issue a warrant to arrest the criminal.
Each detective will be evaluated on cooperation, complete detective log, and each unit's written warrant.
Congratulations! You have solved the mystery!
By the end of this WebQuest, you should be able to solve a crime using the scientific method. You should also be familiar with forensic science and keeping a detailed log.
Credits & References
We all benefit by being generous with our work. Permission is hereby granted for other educators to copy this WebQuest, update or otherwise modify it, and post it elsewhere provided that the original author's name is retained along with a link back to the original URL of this WebQuest. On the line after the original author's name, you may add Modified by (your name) on (date). If you do modify it, please let me know and provide the new URL.
Graphics provided by:
Based on a template from The WebQuest Page