If you’re teaching students to read maps and coordinates, this may be of interest. It’s a mix of the children’s board game “Guess Who” and a poor man’s CSI, with a light dose of absurdity.
Students, after hearing of criminal activity on the school grounds must travel to several locations within the school property in order to gather information from witnesses to the crime. At each station, they will be given a new clue about the suspect, such as eye color, hair color, build, height, etc… Using their suspect pool, they engage in a process of elimination until they have collected enough clues to confidently arrest a suspect.
I have provided blank templates, as you will need to head to GoogleMaps to capture a map of your school’s property when you deliver this lesson to students. But don’t worry, I’ll guide you through that process too!
Above is a set of checkpoints that you can place in different locations within the schoolground. Each checkpoint features a witness who provides one clue about our suspect. Students use the information from each witness to, through a process of elimination, determine the prime suspect.
The location of these checkpoint stations is at your discretion.
PERSONALIZING TO YOUR LOCATION
Now, let’s say you live in Vancouver, BC and you are teaching at Ecole Jules Quesnel Elementary.
Step 2: On the bottom left hand corner of the screen, select the box that says “Earth”, and you will receive a transformed map with many features that students will be able to recognize, as seen below:
Step 3: If using a Mac Computer, hold down the command, shift and 4 keys, and take a screen shot of your schoolground. This will save a picture of your map to your desktop. The above picture is simply a screenshot taken from google maps.
If you are running on a Windows desktop, click the Windows logo key +PrtScn.
Step 4: Insert your screenshot into your CSI Template:
Step 5: As you can see above, the picture is on top of the grid, so that it would be difficult to track the coordinate grid. In the format Picture tab, select the option for the picture to be “Behind Text”. Then move the image into place. The finished product should look something like this:
Awesome. You now have a map that is set upon a grid of coordinates that students can use to locate many familiar features. You’re almost there. You’ll need to place checkpoint papers in several locations on the school property, and document their grid co-ordinates so you can pass them along to students when they begin their investigation.
HOW TO DELIVER:
When delivering this activity for the first time, I created small cue cards with co-ordinates for each station. Pairs of students would be given the co-ordinates for one checkpoint, and sent of to locate it with the help of their map. The next pair of students would be given a different set of checkpoint coordinates to prevent the grouping of students in a few locations. After collecting the witness information from the checkpoint, students would return to “HeadQuarters” to receive a new set of co-ordinates. This would continue until they had enough information to confidently arrest a suspect based upon witness testimony.
With 30 students in pairs racing across a schoolground, it was easy for students to get a general idea of where checkpoints might be hidden. A quick look across the field to see a group of 4 students huddled around a baseball dugout is enough of a suggestion.
Other options include dividing the class into half, with half completing the CSI investigation and the other working indoors on a separate activity, and then switching. Another option I have considered (within an elementary classroom) is sending out pairs one or two at a time throughout the day, and timing their speed in gathering information to determine “top detectives”.