How is 'The Mystery of the Golden Pen' adaptable to my school?
The basic premise of 'The Mystery of the Golden Pen' is that a priceless golden pen, formerly owned by Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle, was stolen from a display case in school over a month ago. As they have been unable to solve the case, the police are requesting help from the students in identifying the culprit, along with their motives and the methods used to steal the pen. The three prime suspects are fictional characters: Sue Spishus (The Dodgy Dinner Lady), Eva Sieve (The Crooked Cleaner) and Del Inkwant (The Cunning Caretaker). Students will have to examine the range of clues presented on the 56 clue cards to solve the case.
The plot and content of the clues have been specifically written to fit in with any reasonably sized space within any school building. There would be no need for a school to make any alterations due to their type or location.
'The Mystery of the Golden Pen' is a very flexible product and can be used in a number of different contexts to benefit your students. Please click on the information page for details about the primary uses.
What age is this product aimed at?
'The Mystery of the Golden Pen' is particularly suitable for students aged 8-12. Some of the clues contain a large amount of text and are therefore more accessible to more able readers. The kit contains differentiation materials and advice, allowing the level of challenge to be adapted to suit all abilities.
Students are challenged to investigate a fictional theft, and there are no materials that could be considered in any way upsetting.
How many students could 'The Mystery of the Golden Pen' competition accommodate?
If used as a whole school competition across a school day in a large space, the competition could easily accommodate over one hundred students. 'Detective Exam' materials are provided to allow schools to conduct a preliminary selection process should they wish.
The crime scene should be sealed off with the crime scene tape provided and it is recommended that a timetable is drawn up to allow groups of 10-20 students to take time off from lessons and examine the area.
How long does the activity take?
The kit includes some optional warm-up activities that challenge students to think laterally. These include detective exams and a group problem solving exercise entitled 'The River Raft Challenge'. If all warm-up activities were used, students would require approximately 60 minutes.
The amount of time required to examine the crime scene is dependent upon the students' academic ability; for an average student, 40-60 minutes should be enough. Students would then need to time to discuss their findings (if working in teams) and produce a written solution or verbal presentation. Approximately 60 minutes should be allocated to this.
After the student solutions have been submitted or presented, a small amount of time will be required to reveal the actual solution to the students involved (a PowerPoint file is included to support this).
Where can I hold this activity and how much space does it require?
The product can be used within a standard sized classroom, or within a larger space such as a school library or assembly hall. Approximately 15 square metres should be sufficient, although more space may be required should larger numbers of students (10+) visit the crime scene at the same time. If using the boxed version, the crime scene tape provided will allow you to clearly highlight the area you wish to use. It is recommended that there is a designed entry point to the crime scene where student information and resources can be provided.
How long does the crime scene take to set up?
Less than 45 minutes. After sealing off the crime scene area, all that remains is to spread out the clue cards. Please note that should you wish to make use of the student resources provided, some prior photocopying will be required.
Could it be used for low-ability students or EAL students with limited English?
This is a complex mystery designed to challenge students. There are a number of resources or approaches that could be used to make the activity suitable for low-ability students or those with limited English:
1. A set of six spark cards is provided with the kit. Each of these cards provides prompts to help students make connections between clues or to read into challenging information.
2. Differentiated solution submission resources are also available. These provide the students with writing guidance to help them provide clear responses.
3. There are 56 cards in total and not all of these are essential to solving the case (some provide useful background information or present red herrings). A simple way to make the activity easier for students is to remove some of the less essential clue cards.
4. You may wish to consider which words may cause problems for your specific students beforehand and get them to look these up before starting the activity.
Can it be used more than once?
Definitely! All the clues provided in the boxed version are printed on card and we offer a guarantee to send electronic copies of any that need reprinting due to loss or damage. When using 'The Mystery of the Golden Pen' for a second time, you may wish to consider the following approaches, to avoid the solution being passed on by previous competitors:
1. Leave a suitable time gap (i.e a year) between delivering the activities.
2. Focus the activity on new intake students.
3. Run the activity under controlled conditions. This would mean that the students would be given no forewarning of the activity and would have to produce a solution directly after visiting the crime scene.
If ordering for a UK school, when can I expect delivery?
We aim to ensure delivery within 10 working days using a recorded delivery courier service. Please note that the cost of postage and packaging (£8.95 for the boxed version / £2.30 for the memory stick version) is not included in the stated product price and will be applied at the checkout page.
How will my school pay for it?
An invoice will be included in the delivery, providing payment details. Schools may settle the invoice by cheque or bank transfer. We would appreciate payment within 60 days of the invoice date.
Can I order it for a school outside the UK?
Absolutely! A link to pricing for dispatch to Australia, Canada, USA and New Zealand is displayed on our home page. If you are ordering for a school elsewhere in the world, please contact us for a quote.
There is something else I would like to know...
Please click on the 'CONTACT' tab at the top of the page and fill in the contact form. We aim to respond to all enquiries within two working days.