Crime Scene Soil Investigation

This article “Crime Scene Soil Investigation,” in the NSTA journal Science and Children by Cynthia Deaton and Sarah Simms, is about having students learn through mobile learning. It states that mobile learning “encourage(s) exploration and critical thinking” (39). This crime scene presents students with a scenario where a boy named Benji has his bike stolen in the middle of the night. It explains that there were dirty footprints at the scene of the crime and the police took samples of the soil to determine the thief. A description of the soil is given and possible suspects including Sam Sandifer who would leave sand behind, Perry Potts who would leave loam behind, and Carol Clayton who would leave clay behind. Students will compare the soils that the suspects could leave behind with the soil that was left behind. This is a great way to incorporate prior knowledge into an engaging activity. This activity also incorporates collaboration among students. They have to work together and some students may have different observations that could be useful to figure out the person that stole the bike. They also have to provide evidence to support their claims. This is a great way to have the students show what they know, so it would be good to use as an assessment. What also is great about this is that there was a follow up question, so that the students can do more critical thinking about soil and show teachers how to continue the lesson. Students in 4th and 5th grade learn about the earth and how it is made of many different rocks, and minerals. Students will not only learn how to think critically and use evidence to base their explanations on, but also learn about the different types of soil that is found on earth.

Deaton, Cynthia, and Sarah Simms. “Crime Scene Soil Investigation.” Science and Children 54.5 (2017): 38-44. nsta.org. NSTA, 1 Jan. 2017. Web. 18 Feb. 2017.

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