Rogue Rodent Mystery Resources and Activities: Part I

Welcome to The Rogue Rodent Mystery: A Crime Scene Investigation!

This amazing, 10-lesson course is designed to ignite curiosity and stimulate authentic learning by creating real-life contexts ranging from lab analyses to printmaking to criminal investigation.

Who can teach The Rogue Rodent Mystery and where? 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, after-school programs, intersession programs, museum groups, summer camps, youth groups, and clubs (anywhere young people are gathered).

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

You can even watch a helpful introductory video to the course by clicking here!

If you’d like to dive even deeper, you can follow along with this article to read through additional resources that will help you with each of the ten lessons in The Rogue Rodent Mystery.

Lesson 1

Observing the Clues: Investigation with Your Senses

The following activities and websites will enrich what has been already learned in this lesson (observation and senses).

  1. Brainstorm a list of detective/spy tools. What sense does each tool heighten? Challenge students to invent their own detective/spy tool. Students should come up with a name for the tool, describe what it does, and draw a picture of the tool.
  2. Spend time looking at different objects using the naked eye, a magnifying glass, and a microscope. Draw images to record what you see. How does each tool change the appearance of the object? Think of a time when each level of sight would
    be most useful.
  3. You can even test how well you distinguish colors by heading over to take this fun color challenge and hue test!

Lesson 2

Recording Your Findings: Sketching the Scene

The following activities will certainly enrich what has been previously learned in this lesson.

  1. Use flashlights and shadows to play with scale. Create a scene using interestingly shaped objects (model dinosaurs, block towers, cars, trucks, etc). Give students time to experiment with the flashlight, figuring out how to make shadows of their objects on the wall. Holding the flashlight parallel to the ground, have them move the flashlight closer to and farther from the objects. What happens? The shadow of each object will increase or decrease in size the same amount — or to scale. Take this investigation further by tracing the outline of the objects as they are increased in size. Cut the images out and make a giant play scene. Discuss approximately how many times bigger the play scene is than the original scene.
  1. Make sketches of other areas around the school such as the playground, library, or even the front entrance.
    Have students share their sketches with one another. Encourage them to describe what objects are in the sketch, the size of the objects, and the position of the objects.
  2. Take your sketching to the next level! Give students access to rulers and graph paper. Students at this level can use one square on a piece of graph paper to represent one inch in real life. Have them measure the length and width of an object. Then sketch the object using a 1:1 scale on the graph paper.

Head over to Smart Draw’s website to get some additional tips on how to sketch a crime scene. This site also allows students to create a fun, crime scene diagram using one of their built-in templates.

Lesson 3

Listening to a Witness: Creating a Composite Sketch

  1. Have students use their drawings of Alice to make “MISSING” posters. Encourage them to use descriptive words and art to help others identify Alice.
  2. Play your own version of Guess Who? in the classroom. Have everyone stand up. The teacher will choose one student to be “the suspect.” Do not reveal who the suspect is. Have students ask yes or no questions about the suspect (ex. Does this person have on glasses? Is this person wearing pink?). As questions are answered, students who do not match the given description
    should sit down until “the suspect” is the only one standing. Keep track of how many questions it takes to find the suspect. Challenge students to try to get this number as low as possible.
  3. Have students spend time drawing self-portraits using mirrors. Encourage them to use descriptive words about themselves.

Head over to Art with Mrs E’s website to read the helpful article, “8 Tips For Teaching Self-Portrait Lessons To Elementary Students.”

Lesson 4

Analyzing Alibis: Monitoring the Movement of Suspects

Hone your skills of deduction and reading body language by playing Two Truths and a Lie. To play the game each person thinks of three statements about themselves (ex. I was born in May. I have a pet dog. I eat pizza every night for dinner). Two of these three statements should be true. One statement should be a lie. Have students take turns sharing their statements. The class should try to guess which statement is the lie. If someone guesses the lie correctly, have them share what tipped them off. Did they already know some background on the student? Did the student change his behavior during the lie? Was it just a wild guess?

Put your skills to the test by heading over to Ellii to watch a couple of short clips that ask you to identify different hand gestures and body language!

Lesson 5

Applying Physics: Studying Force and a Falling Skeleton

  1. Spend time outside with a few soccer balls. Have the ball start in a stopped position between two students. Have them pass the ball back and forth to one another. As they do this, talk about the pushes acting on the ball. They should be able to identify one each time the ball changes direction, comes to a stop, or starts moving.
  2. Go outside on a windy day with streamers and bubbles. Which way do the streamers and bubbles move in the air? What does this tell us about the direction of the wind? Spend time watching the movement of other things outside — leaves, grass, etc. Can you tell from which direction the wind is coming?
  3. Use 10 empty 1-liter plastic bottles and a playground ball to set up a bowling alley. Why don’t all the pins fall down each time? What happens if you roll the ball to the right side of the pins? To the left side of the pins? Straight down the middle? What happens if you roll the ball slowly? Quickly?

To take things a step further, head over to Generation Genuis to learn all about force, along with participating in some of their creative DIY activities for kids.

Or you can even head over to PBS Kids to watch this short video called Hero Elementary, which further discusses the movement of an object (push and pull motions).

If you found these links helpful, keep a lookout for the next section of resources which will include lessons six through ten of The Rogue Rodent Mystery. You can also click here to browse through a variety of our other free resources!

As always, 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 and together, we can bring this mystery to life!

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