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My brilliant idea

Science

Ages 9 to 11

This idea comes from a unit of work on life cycles, when children are learning about the different parts of a flower.

Before the lesson, a little crime scene preparation is required. In the playground, lay out 15 tulips or daffodils (one between two for a class of 30), draw around each one with chalk (like a murder scene), place little numbered evidence cards next to each one and finally seal off the area using cones and tape.

At the start of the lesson, tell the story of the terrible crime that has taken place (Oscar-winning acting skills required and dressing up as a crime scene investigation officer helps). Take the class out to the crime scene with little evidence bags and let each pair collect a victim (tulip).

When back in class, model a tulip autopsy for the class, carefully removing and naming all the bits you want them to learn about. Set them off to work in pairs as investigators doing their own autopsies.

The children love the idea of being CSIs, and building a context like this has a massive impact on their learning

Jonathan Lear teaches at St Catherine's RC Primary in Sheffield and won the BT Teaching Award for Teacher of the Year in a Primary School in the North of England 2006

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