Monday, June 12, 2017

Library GrabBag: Teen Room Crime Scene Investigation

This summer we decided to mix things up a bit in the Teen Room - choosing to create experiences for teens instead of planning crafts and games.  We don't get to do that very often during the school year.  Our after school crowd, while fun and entertaining, usually just need distraction, and attempting to create educational, process-driven programs seems overwhelming with the crowd we get on a daily basis.

But for this summer, each week the whole library is exploring a different genre.  Our first official programming week of summer reading was all about mysteries.  After much consideration , we decided to kill someone.

First, we talked one of our teen pages, and Teen Advisory Board members, into laying on the ground for a chalk outline.  Then we grabbed the caution tape that we always have lying around just in case and created our crime scene.

The rest was the brilliance and hard work of our Teen Librarian, Jessica (Book Plots & Polka Dots).

Each teen was given a file of information that started with instructions:

"The victim, Brian Body, was found murdered on Monday night in his Biology Lab at Reading High School where he was a beloved science teacher.  The police have identified six possible suspects who were around at the time of the murder.

Your job as the crime scene investigator is to narrow down the list of suspects and come up with one suspect the police can arrest.  You should examine information and evidence to eliminate five of the suspects as well as offer convincing proof for the arrest of the guilty person.

Using the data you obtain, fill out the charts with your observations and experiment results.  When complete, you should be able to make a substantial case against one of the suspects and declare him or her the murderer."

Along with the introduction they were given a chart to create profiles for each suspect, a sheet to take notes on evidence and submit their findings, an autopsy report on the victims, interview reports for each suspect, and fingerprint samples for all involved.

We never really know how many to expect at teen programs during the summer.  Jessica printed off 12 files (with extra copies of sheets that participants would write on), and we had over 20 show up to take part in the event.  Our crime scene was a little small to have that many crowded around, so we kept half the group busy with a mystery book scavenger hunt and then switched activities.

Overall, we were very pleased with the outcome.  Some of the teens needed a little extra help to identify the correct suspect, but we had others that took their time and correctly solved the mystery.  It's a program that teaches patience, problem solving, and paying attention to details.  And there was relatively little clean up which I always love!


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