Written by Kevin Beals and Carolyn
This exciting and popular GEMS Festival Teacher's Guide features
two imaginative and compelling mysteries, one for younger and
one for older students. Each mystery allows for layers of detection,
from the simplest to the more involved, to allow for several
grade levels' participation.
Mystery Festival uses a classroom learning-station format;
students study the "crime scene," then conduct crime-lab
tests on the evidence, analyze the results, and try to solve
the mystery. These forensic science activities absorb students
from the start and keep them intensely involved throughout.
This unit explores many key content areas and emphasizes the
important distinction between evidence and inference. The many
crime-lab procedures include thread tests, powder tests, DNA
comparison, chromatography, and fingerprinting. Mystery Festival
combines fun and excitement with careful experimentation, logical
thinking, and real-life connections to forensic science. As
the fascinating correlation between science and detective work
become clear, students absorb processes that will be useful
in all disciplines.
The guide is specially bound for ease in copying the many station
signs, data sheets, footprint graphics, and assorted other mysterious
Time: Five 45- to 60-minute sessions for each mystery.
Recommends Mystery Festival
"This is another great product from the Lawrence Hall of
Science, so all of the activities have been extensively field
tested across the country. Holding a mystery takes extensive
preparation, but Mystery Festival provides detailed handouts,
checklists, and very specific instructions for teachers and
Background information on
forensic science, chromatography, and DNA fingerprinting will
prepare teachers for student questions
The time spent
setting this up will have a big payoff when the whole school
is abuzz with talk about the mystery!"
National Science Teachers Association Recommends
Comment on this GEMS unit.
Spanish Language Student Materials:
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5
What materials are needed to present this unit? See the full list.