Detective Science



The basis of any good investigation is asking good questions and finding the best answers.  Use the following guidelines to complete each task:

  • Read through the instructions completely before starting the task.
  • Keep a portfolio notebook.  Organize/write down what you do in each project.
  • Follow the instructions carefully.
  • If your project does not work properly the first time, try again.

Portfolios will include, but are not limited to:
  • credentials
  • fingerprint card and guide
  • cryptograph puzzle
  • read a book from the Literature List below and then follow the directions on Mystery Writing Prezi

 Each student is responsible for his/her individual portfolio during the learning stage.  


To observe is to note carefully, paying attention to details.  Observations include everything from the objects found at the scene and statements from witnesses, to the time of day and temperature of the occurrence.  

Photo Analysis Challenge    Write about your results in your portfolio.  Was this hard for you?  Was it harder than you expected?

Something that gives a basis for credit or confidence.  After completing this WebQuest you will have earned your Science Detective credentials!

Special Agent Credentials   Print this out and complete for your portfolio!

An ink impression of the pattern of marks made by pressing the tip of a finger or thumb on a surface for the purpose of identification.

Fingerprint Card  Print this out and complete for your portfolio!

Fingerprint Game  In your portfolio, state how you did.  Was it harder than you thought?

The coding and decoding of secret messages.

Cryptograms        Print at least one of these games, from either link, for your portfolio.

DNA is made up of particles that make up a code that is used to tell people apart.  DNA is found in our cells so it is everywhere in our bodies, including in our hair, blood, saliva, skin, and bones.  Only identical twins share the same DNA.

Federal Bureau of Investigation

About the FBI   Write a small paragraph in your portfolio stating what you learned.

Choose one of the following books.  Read the book and then follow the Mystery Writing Prezi.  Create the diagram discussed for both the book you read and the mystery you want to write.  Submit both within your portfolio.

Nate The Great And The Big Sniff, Marjorie Weinman Sharmat and Mitchell Sharmat,
2001, Random House Children's Books, http://randomhouse.com/kids

Nate The Great And Me, The Case Of The Fleeing Fang, Marjorie Weinman Sharmat1998, Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, http://www.bdd.com

Encyclopedia Brown Cracks The Case, Donald J. Sobol, 2007, Scholastic Inc.

Nancy Drew And The Clue Crew, Case of the Sneaky Snowman, Carolyn Keene, 2006, Simon and Schuster, Inc.

Mystery Writing Prezi  Submit final work in your portfolio!


Watch the YouTube Video below to see an interview with Magic Tree House book series author Mary Pope Osborne.

Author Interview: Mary Pope Osborne  Write a couple of sentences in your portfolio stating what she says about writing.


Now that you are official detectives, it's time to create your own mystery!   

Students will work in groups of four.  As a group, you need to create your own mystery to present to your classmates.  You should include a setting, a plot, and two projects to be completed in order for others to solve your mystery.  Your group should break into two sets of pairs, each pair will become the 'experts' for one of the two methods your group will incorporate for solving your mystery. (i.e. fingerprinting and cryptography) You will present your mystery to the class as a group and you will need to cover the following rolls throughout the presentation: presenter, expert 1, expert 2, question taker.  Each of you need to include this group project within your individual portfolios.                             
Good Luck!

Need help getting started? Check out Detective Kids-PBS: Tools of the Trade and Detective Notebook.

In your portfolio, jot down examples of tools of the trade.  What kinds of information should a detectives notebook include?

The Public URL for this WebQuest:
WebQuest Hits: 3,866
Save WebQuest as PDF

Ready to go?

Select "Logout" below if you are ready
to end your current session.