Our fourth unit’s entry point for Communication began before the mid-year break, when a learner read a passage from a totally made up story that contained the real script for a video confession to a (pretend) murder! It was this ‘murder’ and the ensuing communication of the various pieces of evidence surrounding the crime that Year 8 were going to investigate throughout the morning.
Learners were introduced to the concept of a Murder Mystery through exploration of key words (witness, confess, accuse, victim) and a BBC iCAN News report. They were then split and each chose roles before beginning the investigation. Roles included: the Chief , the Spy, the Sneak, the Reporter plus 6 secret roles: 3 witnesses, 1 false witness, 1 false confessor, and the murderer.
The evidence to investigate was split across 3 rooms.
- In English learners used handwriting analysis to explore the personality traits of the killer, using a handwritten piece of Spanish homework.
- In science learners used forensic methods to discover the identity of 3 unknown chemical samples using pH testing and their existing knowledge of chemical properties.
- In PSHE learners used a witness statement identifying a tall dark haired man and dark haired teenager as stimulus for them to apply their artistic skills to make sketches of the crime scene and the identity of the killer.
Learners finished by presenting their evidence, accusations and theories, confidently and respectfully challenging and questioning each other. We were impressed by the number of students who took on their roles with dramatic confidence and ease. Overall, it was a thought-provoking entry point (for learners and facilitators!). Year 8 experienced first-hand the ease with which errors in communication can be made and we are excited to see how their understanding of this particular Big Idea develops over the course of the unit.