Cookie Jar Mystery Resources: Part I

Welcome to The Cookie Jar Mystery: A Study in Forensic Science!

This fun, 12-activity forensic course is aimed at students in grades four and five. It is designed to ignite curiosity and stimulate authentic learning by creating real-life contexts ranging from lab analysis to fieldwork to criminal investigation.

Instructors are supported by easy-to-manage materials and step-by-step plans. No specialized knowledge is required to launch the course, making this entertaining forensic science mystery ideal for classrooms, afterschool programs, intersession programs, museum groups, summer camps, youth groups, and clubs (anywhere young people are gathered)!

To get an even better understanding of this course, you can read through the complete overview by visiting our website and clicking The Cookie Jar Mystery course kit. This will also give you a detailed description of each and every lesson.

If you’d like to dive even deeper, you can follow along with this blog to read through additional resources that will help you with each of the twelve lessons in The Cookie Jar Mystery.

Lesson 1

Heads Up: Observation Skills

Not everyone thinks that handwriting analysis is a legitimate science. Click here to read more about handwriting analysis.

The most infamous forger of the early 20th century was Joseph Cosey. He specialized in copying the handwriting and signatures of many historical figures, including US presidents. To view some of his work, simply click here.

Lesson 2

Think Ink: Ink Chromatography

Watch this helpful video to learn more about the basics of chromatography.

Additionally, you can explore this topic further by clicking here to read about the principles of chromatography.

Lesson 3

The White Stuff: White Substances and Toxicology

Toxicologists often encounter a vast amount of poisons during their work. You can learn more about the different types of poison they deal with and further study poison prevention by checking out this resourceful site.

You can also learn the poison prevention song (a “jingle”) in English or Spanish. It’s easy — just listen a couple of times and you will have it memorized in no time!

Are you passionate about science and thinking about pursuing toxicology careers? Learn all about a career in toxicology by clicking here.

Lesson 4

Pull Some Strings: Fiber Analysis

If you’re interested in learning about the differences between each fabric, head over to this page for some in-depth fabric facts!

Fabrics are essential to our everyday lives, from the clothes we wear to the furniture we sit on. However, there are many interesting facts about fabrics that are not commonly known. Click here to learn 15 interesting facts about fabrics.

Lesson 5

Hair We Go: Hair Samples

So, how accurate is a hair analysis? Read about current hair analysis controversies by clicking here.

What does the structure of our human hair look like and how does it grow? Read along with this helpful article to understand the anatomy and benefits of our hair.

Lesson 6

Follow the Grain: Pollen Analysis

Spend some time researching the relationship between allergies and pollen, then take a closer look at a national allergy map to find out if you can expect trouble today!

Read true stories about forensic palynology in action: Solving Crimes With Pollen One Grain of Evidence at a Time on NPR, and Fighting Crime, With Pollen on The Atlantic.

Pollen not only solves crimes, but it also helps us understand the migration of animals and the relationships that they share.

If you found these links helpful, keep a lookout for the next section of resources which will include lessons seven through twelve of the Cookie Jar Mystery!

We’d love to hear your feedback or any questions that you might have. You can email us at any time by sending a message to

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