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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

  • Image 1
  • Instructor's Guide
  • Lesson 1 - Observing the Clues: Investigation with Your Senses
  • Lesson 2 -  Recording Your Findings: Sketching the Scene
  • Lesson 3 - Listening to a Witness: Creating a Composite Sketch
  • Lesson 4 - Analyzing Alibis: Monitoring the Movement of Suspects
  • Lesson 5 - Applying Physics: Studying Force and a Falling Skeleton
  • Lesson 6 - Inspecting Pattern Evidence: Comparing Shoe Prints
  • Lesson 7 - Researching Rodents: Discovering a Guinea Pig’s Survival Needs
  • Lesson 8 - Following Colorful Clues: Making Orange Paint
  • Lesson 9 - Weighing the Evidence: Testing the Scales of Justice
  • Lesson 10 - Considering the Confession: Understanding Misunderstandings!
  • Student Book

Rogue Rodent Mystery: A Crime Scene Investigation Essentials Kit for Grades K-1

$18.00 (Fixed shipping cost)

Product Description

Rogue Rodent Mystery Instructors Guide

Engage your budding scientists in K-1 with Community Learning’s newest forensic classroom caper! This 10-unit mystery, with each lesson lasting about an hour, really hits home when a beloved classroom pet Alice has gone missing. Now your younger students can join the fun and learn all about crime scene investigation and help solve the Rogue Rodent Mystery!

The Rogue Rodent Mystery forensic science kit is a hands-on exploration that’ll excite kids about learning and build a special interest in Science. Your students will use real laboratory techniques, procedures and materials to get to the bottom or this most troubling crime. Students, will look at the crime scene captured on video to build their own “theory” of the case and then learn about analyze the evidence or “clues” left behind. Students will work together just like adults to get to the bottom of this most troubling crime!

Bringing the Mystery to Life

Rogue Rodent Mystery is based on the premise that crime occurred in Ms. Hawkins’ science classroom at Cavia Elementary. Her classroom is filled with all sorts of neat things and also has a pet Guinea pig named Alice. Alice is a very special part of the class. Mrs. Hawkins loves animals and knows that the best way for her students to learn about what an animal needs to survive is by observing, or watching, the animal up close. The entire class help stake care of the guinea pig - feeding her, giving her fresh water, cleaning her enclosure, providing things for Alice to chew on, and taking her home to care for her on the weekends. Yesterday, Mrs. Hawkins said goodbye to her students as they headed home.

She put Alice safely back in her enclosure and then went to the cafeteria to grab an afternoon snack. When she came back 20 minutes later she noticed …Alice was gone! 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 Rogue Rodent Mystery.

To limit the suspect possibilities, Ms. Hawkins has narrowed the suspects to four—all current students of hers. 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 Rogue Rodent 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 - Observing the Clues: Investigation with Your Senses 

In this first lesson, your students’ are introduced to the mystery of the missing guinea pig through a video taken immediately after realizing that Alice was missing. Students will also be introduced to the job of a forensic scientist and prepare to take on the role by practicing their skill of observation.

Lesson 2 - Recording Your Findings: Sketching the Scene 

This lesson will challenge your students to make a rough sketch of a pretend crime scene. The focus of sketching at this stage (rough) should be the inclusion of all objects, the proper positional placement and relative size of objects in the scene.

Lesson 3 - Listening to a Witness: Creating a Composite Sketch

Students will discover that a picture can replace a long verbal description and help others better understand. In science it is very common to use pictures - photographs, diagrams and graphs – to convey your process and findings.

Lesson 4 - Analyzing Alibis: Monitoring the Movement of Suspects 

In this activity, students will hear the alibis of four suspects. They will practice the skills of a forensic scientist by listening carefully to each story. Then, using matching picture cards, students will retell the details of each suspect’s story in sequential order.

Lesson 5 - Applying Physics: Studying Force and a Falling Skeleton

Students will focus on the fallen model skeleton in Mrs. Hawkins’s classroom to imagine (and predict) what happened on the day Alice was taken. By running a simple experiment, students will make a connection between a force (a rolling ball) and the resulting movement of the object (a model skeleton).

Lesson 6 - Inspecting Pattern Evidence: Comparing Shoe Prints 

For this lesson, students will focus on visible, two- dimensional prints. They’ll study the visible, two-dimensional shoe prints left behind on Mrs. Hawkins’ classroom floor. Students will try to match parts of a print to a larger pattern and measure the length and width of the shoe print.

Lesson 7 - Researching Rodents: Discovering a Guinea Pig’s Survival Needs

Students will be asked to learn more about guinea pigs to better understand how Alice came to be missing. Is it possible that a suspect took Alice home? This information will be recorded in a table. Students will use the table to make arguments about the potential involvement of each suspect.

Lesson 8 - Following Colorful Clues: Making Orange Paint 

In this activity, students will figure out which suspect was most likely to have left behind orange paint smudges by mixing together different primary colors of paint. Students will be challenged to follow a procedure in the correct order.

Lesson 9 - Weighing the Evidence: Testing the Scales of Justice 

Students will use balances to literally weigh the evidence of each suspect against one another. Not only will this give your students a chance to use a common measurement tool in science, it will provide a visual to help them formulate their own conclusions.

Lesson 10 - Considering the Confession: Understanding Misunderstandings! 

This last activity is designed to tie together any loose ends or resolve unanswered questions about the mystery. It is also designed as a celebration of the mystery solved!


What's in this Course Kit?

Each Course Kit contains an Instructor Guide, Resource CD with Student Books in PDF, and all of the essential supplies needed to teach the course to a class of up to 30 students. Some supplies will need to be acquired locally.

Rogue Rodent Mystery Instructor's Guide

Instructor’s 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 Rogue Rodent Mystery: An Introduction to Forensic Science, your instructors will have access to a number of companion resources. The Resource CD includes lesson tutorials, 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. 

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: crayons, markers, paint, rulers, stickers, centimeter cubes, magic paper, skeleton figures, crime scene tape and more!

The Rogue Rodent Mystery Kit includes:

1 x Instructor’s Guide
1 x Rogue Rodent photos and handouts
Teacher Resource CD with Student Books in PDF
8 x Figurines
250 x Cm measuring cubes
8 x Stress balls
35 x Guinea Pig stickers
2 x Student pan balances
56 x 250 mL beakers
2 x Set of blindfolds, earplugs, bandages
1 x Crime Scene tape
1 x 1,000 mL beaker
16 x Spray bottles
 Need to Acquire Locally
15 x Rulers
1 x Lemon scented air freshener
15 x Poster board (11”x14”)
50 x Cardstock paper
8 x Washable markers (box of 8)
24 x Foam plates
1 x Mixing spoon
1 x Coffee scoop
100 x Wood splints
1 x Pack of index cards
1 x Masking tape
1 x Flip Chart
3 x Tempera paint powder
30 x #2 Pencils
15 x Student Scissors
15 x Box of crayons
15 x Plastic cups

Tools for Teaching

Quick Start Tips for Teachers

Welcome to the Staff Training Notes for Rogue Rodent Mystery, a series of 10 hands-on modules in forensic science designed for K to 1st graders. This program is ideal for in-school, after-school programs and summer camps.

Who can teach The Rogue Rodent Mystery?

Any responsible, enthusiastic and well-briefed group leader, teacher, volunteer, parent, or other motivated adult can teach The Rogue Rodent 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 Plans.

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 Rogue Rodent Mystery?

No special technical or scientific (or forensic!) skills are necessary to teach The Rogue Rodent 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 Rogue Rodent Mystery is fun, so enthusiastic and positive instructors are essential “cheerleaders” in the learning process.

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

Absolutely! Each activity in the course has been designed to teach an important lesson in scientific reasoning and to conduct a scientific process. 

How can instructors most effectively deliver the lessons in The Rogue Rodent Mystery?

Teaching any lesson in The Rogue Rodent Mystery is easy if the instructor is well-prepared. Follow these steps before every lesson.

  • Read the entire lesson 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 becoming 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. Review some vocabulary. Ask students if they have developed any 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 shoe prints, ask students to look at their own shoes and describe them. Ask them when or where one can find shoe prints and which rooms in the house are most likely to have shoe prints. What conditions make it more likely to find shoe prints?

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

Extend your lesson

Instructors—particularly those with access to computer labs—can extend their lessons by reading through many of the activities described in the Other Directions, Discussions and Destinations section at the end of each lesson. Even if there’s no computer available in the classroom, many activities can be adapted by an instructor who takes the time to visit the recommended websites before delivering a lesson.

Consult your colleagues

Many lessons in The Rogue Rodent Mystery have cross-disciplinary applications. Talk with other teachers in your school or program about the ways in which what they are teaching might connect to your lesson. As you plan and prepare, ask your colleagues for good “discussion starters”. Show them the activity sheets and materials you are using, and ask for their experience in teaching about science processes. The Rogue Rodent Mystery is a great jumping-off point for lessons in character education, too!

A note about safety

All of the materials and activities in The Rogue Rodent 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. 


Product Videos

Rogue Rodent Mystery Crime Scene Video (02:43)
This video kicks off the action in our all new forensic learning adventure called the Rogue Rodent Mystery: A Crime Scene Investigation. Students witness what happened when their teacher Mrs. Hawkins returned from a meeting one afternoon, to find their beloved classroom pet Alice missing! This fun classroom activity includes everything you need to jump into an engaging, fun and educational activity for students in grades K-1. Request a free sample at https://goo.gl/kPNzXx
  • Rogue Rodent M...
    This video kicks off the action in our all new forensic learni...