Week Two of the Case of the Pilfered Hippopotamus is upon us! During class, I told the kids the facts of the case. We met our main characters (and suspects!) — five friends named Sam, Brandon, Tessa, Julia and Alex. These friends formed the Stuffed Animal Adventure Club. They got together for a playdate and to build a clubhouse. After awhile, they wanted to do something else but could not agree on what. They decided to take a nap, and when they awoke, they found that someone had played with Danny while they slept, leaving him soaking wet.
After we discussed the facts, I gave the kids a fact sheet and a graphic organizer that we will use throughout the unit. They spent some of our class time filling out their Clue Board.
Most of the students did not finish, and I sent the Clue Boards home to be finished as homework. The purpose is merely to consolidate all of the information; I don’t expect the kids to solve the mystery on their own.
Over the next few weeks, we will perform a series of tests to determine the culprit. We’ll test clothing fibers, examine footprints and fingerprints, use pH paper to test juice, and examine a mystery brown stain. Each test will provide another piece in the puzzle and lead us closer to the solution to the mystery.
During this unit, the kids are working on logical and sequential thinking, making inferences, using evidence to support an argument, and not jumping to conclusions unsupported by the text. They don’t really know they’re working on these things, of course. They just think they’re sleuthing out a solution to a mystery. I won’t tell them if you don’t!