Rogue Rodent Mystery: A Crime Scene Investigation is a 10-lesson course for elementary students. It is designed to ignite curiosity and stimulate authentic learning by creating real life contexts ranging from lab analyses to print making to criminal investigation. Our courses have been used enthusiastically in more than 45 states, stimulating young minds and engaging young hands for many years. In fact, thematic integration—over an extended period of hands-on engagement— forms the driving concept behind all Community Learning’s courses. The lessons and activities that comprise Rogue Rodent Mystery are aligned to the practices, cross-cutting concepts, and disciplinary core ideas that are the foundation of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). In addition, the activities included in this unit align to the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics and English Language Arts and Literacy. For more information on the standards please see the Standards Matrix included in the appendix.

Bringing the Mystery to life

Rogue Rodent Mystery is based on the premise that a crime occurred in Ms. Hawkins’ science classroom at Cavia Elementary. Her classroom is filled with all sorts of neat things and also has a pet guinea pig named Alice. Alice is a very special part of the class. Mrs. Hawkins loves animals and knows that the best way for her students to learn about what an animal needs to survive is by observing, or watching, the animal up close. The entire class helps take care of the guinea pig – feeding her, giving her fresh water, cleaning her enclosure, providing things for Alice to chew on, and taking her home to care for her on the weekends. Yesterday, Mrs. Hawkins said goodbye to her students as they headed home. She put Alice safely back in her enclosure and then went to the cafeteria to grab an afternoon snack. When she came back 20 minutes later she noticed …Alice was gone! Inside this box are all the materials needed by your students to conduct the investigation, including photographs, scientific equipment and “evidence.” Each lesson introduces new intriguing evidence, forensic techniques, and insight toward solving the Rogue Rodent Mystery. To limit the suspect possibilities, Ms. Hawkins has narrowed the suspects to four—all current students of hers. Together, your students work toward the most plausible scenarios and celebrate their findings in the concluding lesson with certificates honoring their work as forensic investigators.