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Customer Quotes

“Great products...one of the best curriculum's out there, great help for teaching our video class" -Christine R., Principal, Trinity Lutheran School, Kalispell, MT

"Screenwriting was awesome, our kids really loved these activities. It was also really nice to provide such a creative curriculum that addresses the standards in such a fun way." - Heather S., Director, After School, City of Fairfield, CA

“Having taught at the high school and college level, I was impressed with this curriculum. The materials and guidance were well put together and very thoughtful." - Michael L., Artist, Shea After School, Syracuse, NY

“This amazing program has enabled my students to comprehend the process of forensic science as well as the sophisticated vocabulary encompassed in the program's lessons.” - Erica T., Freehold Public Schools, Freehold, NJ

“This is a well organized course that I would highly recommend to other programs.” - Chad S., Teacher, School #18, Buffalo, NY

“The program is awesome! I’m doing it as part of an after school enrichment time. Our kids really enjoy the projects and it’s wonderful to use as everything is provided.” - Karen S.,Teacher, Olympic Middle School, WA

“This is the perfect kind of activity for afterschool. It’s fun; students learn by getting involved. Everybody wants to be a part of it!” - Kim L., Program Leader, Child and Adolescent Treatment Services, Buffalo NY

“They love it…it’s awesome. Kids are dying to get in it!” - Audrey A., Teacher, Clifford Marshall Elementary School, Quincy, MA

“The Missing Money Mystery was very easy to follow. The children had such a great time at it, we even allowed our group to re-enact the entire mystery. This mystery was fantastic, and we are looking forward to our next exercise!” - Jackie. J., Director/Detective, Hempstead P.A.L., Hempstead, NY

“The students were engaged and enjoyed the experiments. The story keeps the activities meaningful and provided an interested way to connect Florida Standards. The teacher’s manual was easy to follow and materials in the kits made it very convenient for set up. Overall, this is a great thing to do in afterschool and during the summer!” - Betty C., Teacher, Genesis Center, Leesburg FL

“Playing with Percussion offers an exciting doorway to exploring percussion, communication skills and learning about different cultures." - Sheila K., Site Leader, Accord Corp, Youth Services Division, Belfast NY

"Our kids enjoyed making their own instruments, especially sanding. Playing all those grooves at the end was a lot of fun!" - Nina P., Music teacher, Napa, CA

“The Cookie Jar Mystery was such a big hit at the middle school…which has been tough.”
-Charlie E., Teacher, Lexington County Schools, SC

"The Cookie Jar Mystery went really well, the kids talked about it for weeks.  They were very excited and intrigued with the hands-on activities and I really enjoyed teaching it!"
-Brook T.,Teacher, Lincoln Middle Schools, TN

  • Full Kit
  • Instructor's Guide
  • Lesson 1 - Figuring out Forensics
  • Lesson 2 - Securing the Scene
  • Lesson 3 - Powder Power
  • Lesson 4 - Natural or Not
  • Lesson 5 - Tracking the Tires
  • Lesson 6 - Digging for Dirt
  • Lesson 7 - Cast a Clue
  • Lesson 8 - Crack the Code
  • Lesson 9 - Lifting Lips
  • Lesson 10 - Proof in Profiling
  • Lesson 11 - Suspect Statements
  • Lesson 12 - Case Closed

Missing Money Mystery: An Introduction to Forensic Science Summer Camp Kit for Grades 2-3

Calculated at checkout
This product only available March-June

Product Description

Missing Money Mystery Instructors GuideChallenge your students to solve this exciting new 12-unit mini classroom caper! This fun, interactive learning program, with each lessonlasting about an hour, immerses students in grades 2-3 into scientific discovery as they work to solve the mystery of the stolen funds. Kids will test their CSI skills as they work the case and discover the guilty party!

Using real laboratory techniques and materials, students create theories about the “crime” of a classroom burglary, much as real detectives (and real scientists) use their powers of critical thinking to track down the thief. Along the way, they practice this critical thinking, acquire new vocabulary, explore careers in forensics, and become acquainted with scientific procedures and processes they will encounter in their classrooms. At its core, The Missing Money Mystery is designed to spark students’ interest in science.

Bringing the Mystery to Life

Missing Money Mystery is based on the premise that a crime occurred in Mr. Mugg’s fourth grade classroom at Markwell Elementary. A canister holding the money for an upcoming geocaching field trip disappeared sometime after dismissal on a Monday afternoon. Mr. Mugg makes this discovery the following morning. He knows his students have been looking forward to this special trip which will introduce them to the natural world through a real-life treasure hunt, and he decides to undertake the investigation himself—with the help of your (the course instructor’s) students.

To launch his investigation, Mr. Mugg uses the classroom computer to learn about forensic science and the necessary activities, tools, and tests he needs to solve the crime. He shares this information with your students through a series of emails. He then locates and gathers the clues and packages and sends them in a box to your classroom. Inside this box are all the materials needed by your students to conduct the investigation, including photographs, scientific equipment and “evidence.”

Each lesson introduces new intriguing evidence, forensic techniques, and insight toward solving the Missing Money Mystery. To limit the suspect possibilities, Mr. Mugg has narrowed the suspects to four—all current students of his. Two are boys and two are identical twin girls. Together, your students work toward the most plausible scenarios and celebrate their findings in the concluding lesson with certificates honoring their work as forensic investigators.

Making the Most of Each Lesson

Instructors will find Missing Money Mystery easy and fun to teach. Each lesson provides an activity that teaches a new but related aspect of scientific reasoning and a particular scientific process. None of the labs require special handling or complicated setups. After familiarizing themselves with the lesson, vocabulary, and intended outcome of the activity, instructors set up their classroom so that it is easy for students to work in groups of two or four. Clear guidance is provided in each lesson on how to organize the demonstration area with all the relevant materials at hand. Any necessary safety precautions specific to individual lessons are also provided.

Course Outline and Lesson Descriptions


Lesson 1: Figuring Out Forensics - Organization and Observation

A mysterious "bag of stuff," and some peculiar foreign coins launch learners on the trail of a fugitive from justice. Explore the power of description in this exciting introductory lesson.


Lesson 2: Securing the Scene – Collecting Evidence

Wrongdoers, beware! Learners visit the scene of the crime and use real forensic techniques (such as triangulation) to begin the search for trace evidence that will point to a thief!


Lesson 3: Powder Power - Solutions or Suspensions?

Don’t let our sneaky cash-snatcher get away! The plot thickens (and so do some solutions—or are they suspensions?) as students experiment with different mysterious white powders.


Lesson 4: Natural or Not - Fiber Identification

Weave together the threads of a crime in an activity that allows learners to practice a proven technique in forensic fiber analysis. Then put on your deerstalker and set your Sherlockian sights on classifying the evidence. It's elementary, dear Watson! 


Lesson 5: Tracking the Tires - Tread Patterns

The plot thickens as Mr. Muggs asks his students to examine the strange pattern of tire tread evidence discovered outside his window. Can you figure out who rode the getaway bicycle?


Lesson 6: Digging for Dirt - Soil Samples

Another form of trace evidence gets the "detective treatment" in this fascinating lesson, as learners explore the work of forensic geologists and sort through soil samples, and chart their observations in their detective notebooks!  

Lesson 7: Cast a Clue – Shoe Print Evidence

The guilty party had no idea what they had stepped in. Students analyze shoe prints left at the crime scene to determine if any of the suspects were there.


Lesson 8: Crack the Code - Cryptograms

It may not be quite as challenging as the DaVinci Code, but the coded message left on Mr. Mugg's desk just might point to a clever thief. Learners uncover many secrets of the alphabet (and of master criminals!) in this deciphering activity.


Lesson 9: Lifting Lips - Lip Prints

Does our crook have a crooked smile? Learners "lift," classify, and compare their own lip prints in order to unlock the patterns of this unique form of evidence. 


Lesson 10: Proof in Profiling - DNA Identification

The case is nearly cracked when students compare strands of suspects' DNA, and begin to close in on the real culprit. This authentic investigatory procedure explores genetic markers.


Lesson 11: Suspicious Statements: Means, Motive and Opportunity

Students take a careful look at the letters each suspect wrote in the beginning of the year to see any possible connections between their interests and the classroom crime.


Lesson 12: Case Closed: Analyzing the Evidence

Students test their analytical skills when all of the evidence is laid on the table—and will lead our detectives to point their collective fingers at the guilty party: mystery solved! 



What's in this Course Kit?

Each Course Kit contains an Instructor Guide, Resource CD, 30 Student Books, and all of the supplies needed to teach the course to a class of up to 30 students.

Instructor’s Guide Missing Money Mystery Instructors Guide

Every step is taken to provide an easy-to-follow format and informative, fun-to-read instructions for each lesson. In addition to a brief listing of objectives, materials, and set-up procedures, useful icons point the instructor to a number of key elements:

Notes for the Instructor: Brief instructor notes introduce the subject matter and challenges presented in the particular lesson. They often contain real-life, age-appropriate examples from crime in history or popular culture.

Notes for the Students: These notes “set the stage” for each lesson by presenting brief material to read, listen to, and discuss.

Vocabulary: New and relevant terms are defined here. Note, too, the comprehensive “Glossary” at the end of the Instructor’s Guide and Student Books.

Activity Description: Here, step-by-step procedures are provided for both the instructor’s demonstration and the students’ immersion in the activity.

Wrap-up: Discussion-provoking questions and summary-type activities are designed to revisit the day’s learning and help students take their inquiry further.

Clean-up: Clear instruction on preserving and storing materials is provided to ensure kit longevity and cost effectiveness.

Other Destinations: To extend lessons and deepen understanding across disciplinary and cultural divides, relevant links to multimedia, web resources, and fun at-home or extension activities are provided here.

Student Books provided on Resource CD

Designed for students to record their discoveries class after class, the Student Books acquire a narrative quality that keeps the young “Forensic Investigators” engaged in scientific investigation over time. The books serve as companions to the Instructor’s Guide and contain reports, charts, places to attach samples, and areas to record observations, as well as a full glossary of terms used in the course.

Companion Resources

When you adopt Missing Money Mystery: an Introduction to Forensic Science, your instructors will have access to a number of companion resources. A Teacher Resource CD includes lesson tutorials for each lesson overview, lesson extensions, and other great ideas for the classroom. Word search and crossword puzzles help reinforce newly learned and used vocabulary. Links to forensic videos and other multimedia resources provide authentic lesson extensions. Immediate support, including resupply materials and additional Student Books, is always available from the experts at Community Learning.

Supplies Included

Packed in easy-to-manage carryalls, every material or tool needed to solve the mystery is organized in a way that makes the course easy to teach again and again. Among some of these materials are: foreign coins, soil samples t dropper bottles, printing powder , bicycle tire samples, powder samples, fiber sample and more!

The Missing Money Mystery Kit Includes:

1 x Instructor’s Guide with Resource CD  1 x Hand lotion
1 x Missing Money photos and handouts  1 x Funnel
21 x Construction paper  1 x Crime Scene tape
4 x Graph paper  4 x Fabric samples
15 x Student scissors  10 x Plastic bags
1 x Package of wet wipes  1 x Metal tongs
1 x 500mL beaker  15 x Tweezers
1 x Packing tape  3 x Votive candles
200 x Portion cups  1 x Aluminum pan
15 x Rulers  1 x Modeling clay
36 x Pencils  80 x Envelopes
1 x Masking tape  3 x Tire samples (set of 5)
15 x Permanent markers  3 x Soil samples
30 x Hand lenses  1 x Box of tissues
200 x Wooden splints  12 x Crayons (box of 8)
20 x Dropper bottles  1 x Container of cornstarch
25 x Foam plates  1 x Package of index cards
1 x Vinegar  3 x Scrub brushes
1 x Container of salt   3 x Shoe polish sponges
1 x Container of plaster of paris   3 x Paint brushes
1 x Container of baking soda   1 x Dusting powder
1 x Container of powdered sugar   10 x Mirrors
16 x Rolls of transparent tape   4 x Lipstick
15 x Plastic cups   3 x Petroleum jelly
75 x Plastic coins  10 x Feathers
15 x Textured objects  Student books in PDf on Resource CD
10 x Measuring tapes  

Tools for Teaching

Quick Start Tips for Teachers

Welcome to the Staff Training Notes for The Missing Money Mystery, a series of 12 hands-on lessons in introductory forensic science designed for 2nd and 3rd graders. This program is ideal for after-school programs, summer and vacation camps, scout troops, church youth groups and anywhere that young people gather.

Who can teach The Missing Money Mystery?

Any responsible, enthusiastic and well briefed group leader, teacher, volunteer, parent, or other motivated adult can teach The Missing Money Mystery. The text is easy to read and understand, the set-ups are detailed and uncomplicated, and the processes and procedures are clearly explained in the Lesson pages. Adults act as coaches and mentors, and guide learners as they proceed through the lessons.  

To help your teachers get off to a great start, we created these tutorials (also included on Resource CD).

What special skills does the instructor need to teach The Missing Money Mystery?

No special technical or scientific (or forensic!) skills are necessary to teach The Missing Money Mystery. Instructors should be well organized, motivated and observant individuals. Volunteers—such as other instructors or parents—can be helpful in ensuring that all students are proceeding through their labs and making progress in their understanding. The Missing Money Mystery is fun, so enthusiastic and positive instructors are essential “cheerleaders” in the learning process.

The Missing Money Mystery seems to contain a lot of “labs” that require “special handling”—do all of these experiments really work?

Absolutely! We’ve designed each activity to teach an important lesson in scientific reasoning and to conduct an investigatory process. These activities promote both fun and learning, and the Notes for the Instructor (provided in each section) offers the “context” that helps learners see how their experiments are used in authentic investigations.

How can instructors most effectively deliver the lessons in The Missing Money Mystery?

Teaching any lesson in The Missing Money Mystery is easy if the instructor is well prepared. Follow these steps before every lesson.

  • Read the entire lesson before you teach so you know what sort of outcome you are trying to achieve.
  • Familiarize yourself with the vocabulary and background information.
  • Identify the corresponding pages (where appropriate) in the Student Activity Book and review them so you know how to guide students to “fill in” their part of the activity. This step is essential because much of what students accomplish in their books will ultimately contribute to solving the mystery and becomes part of their Crime Scene Envelope evidence.
  • Open the Course Kit and locate all of the materials you need for each lesson.
  • Set up your classroom so that it’s easy for students to work in groups of 2 or 4.
  • Set up your demonstration area with all appropriate materials at hand.
  • Review any safety precautions related to the particular lesson you are going to teach, and make sure you know where emergency help and supplies are located.
  • Review the entire lesson with any volunteers who will help you teach the lesson.

Once your lesson has started…..

Before you begin each lesson, review“the case so far…” by reminding students of the materials and processes they’ve explored in previous lessons. It’s essential to activate students’ prior knowledge, and to stimulate their memories of how the story will help them make sense of what they are learning. Investigations are cumulative processes, and the sequence of collecting evidence through the activities will inevitably lead our detectives to the right solution.

Don’t hesitate to review some of the vocabulary at the beginning of the lesson. And you can wrap up any lesson by asking students if any has developed theory of the crime. . .

When you introduce new material and procedures, take a moment to assess how much students already know. For example, in a lesson on trace evidence, ask students to examine their own clothing and shoes. By examining these things, can we learn anything about where we have been, what kinds of pets we have, or what we may have eaten for lunch? These questions ask students to become literally self-reflective, an important habit of mind for critical thinking.

Students will be stimulated and excited when they get a chance to “show off” a little of their crime-solving knowledge.

A note about safety

All of the materials and activities in The Missing Money Mystery have been prepared with the greatest concern for student and instructor safety. Please read safety precautions closely before every lesson and make sure that when you are working you have provided adequate light, space, and information to ensure that all participants are afforded the highest standard of safety possible.