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Lesson Plan

Forensics: The Honey Mystery 1 (Hair Analysis)

Summary: 
Students solve the first step of the Honey Mystery by identifying hair at the scene of a crime. They also analyse real hair, from people and other animals.
Science content (2016 curriculum): 
Biology: Features, Adaptations of Living Things (K, 1, 3, 7)
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Materials: 
  • 7 (or so) stuffies - but it gets harder to find the right fur colour and species with much more). We used: one Pooh Bear (light brown; also a fur sample) three bears (white; black and brown; dark and light brown), two cats (black which was also the second fur sample; black and white), one blue hippo, one green frog (with a little yellowish-green fur which caused some complications - of course! it's science!)
  • optional: suspect numbers from 1-8, with safety pin to attach to our row of suspects (the eighth to be attached to Pooh if students realise that one of the fur samples could be his - "He stole his own honey!"....but then, where did the black hair come from?)
  • picnic cloth and honey pot for Pooh to be sitting with at the crime scene
Procedure: 

Lay out the crime scene:
Pooh on his picnic blanket with an empty pot of honey.
7 suspects, with their numbers on, lined up nearby.

Describe the scene:
There has been a crime among the stuffed animals.
Pooh says: “I had my full honey pot with me at my picnic. I must have fallen asleep... when I woke the honey jar was empty.”
Who did it?
7 animals were found near the scene of the crime and are suspects (3 bears, 2 cats, a hippo and a frog).

You will solve the crime over three lessons (Honey Mystery 1, 2 and 3).
Each lesson you will do a different forensic technique collecting more evidence to figure out who stole the honey.

The investigators scoured the crime scene and found some hair samples on the empty honey pot. They put on their gloves, and collected the hair samples in specimen bags.
Today you will do hair analysis to figure out who left their hair on the honey pot, and narrow down the suspects.
You will also look at some real hairs from people and other animals.

Do activities in turn.

Follow this lesson with The Honey Mystery 2 lesson.

Notes: 

This lesson was originally done with buddy classes at Gordon. Half of each class, along with their buddies did the Hair Analysis activity (Honey Mystery 1), while the other half did the Real Hair Analysis, then they switched.

See second round pics for ingridscience stuffies - needs refining.

Grades taught: 
Gr K
Gr 1
Gr 4
Gr 5
Teacher: 
Donna Greening
Jane Kemp
Site tested: 
General Gordon Elementary
ingridscience afterschool
Lesson plan originally developed and delivered: 

Gordon Elementary