Denise Stein

A kidnapping at Norway Intermediate?  Approximately one hundred 5th-graders used their expertise in drawing conclusions to solve the (role play) mystery.   Each student was given a confidential case file with information about six prime suspects.  Students were also given crime scene photos.  They scoured the information for clues as to who they thought could be guilty of such a hideous crime.  After each student came up with their suspect they went through the case file and photos with a small group of peers.  Finally, each 5th-grade class discussed the case.  Each class theorized it wasn’t just one suspect, but possibly two!

One afternoon the suspects were brought to the lunchroom to hear the allegations brought before them by the Norway 5th-graders.  After each class identified their suspect(s) it was determined that there was one “mastermind” behind the kidnapping along with two accomplices.  Deputy Brandt was there to “arrest” the suspects.  One suspect fled the scene, but Deputy Brandt apprehended her as she dashed through the lunchroom.  


All the 5th-grade students knew we were role playing, yet still worked so hard going through the evidence to make sure they had the right suspect.  I heard them talking about the case in the hallway, lunchroom, and at recess.  Several of the suspects told me they had kids coming up to them and asking questions about the case.  While the 5th-graders were using reading skills (inferencing and drawing conclusions) fun was had by everyone.  Years down the road I think they will ALL remember solving the case of “Who Kidnapped Our Principal” when they were in 5th-grade.