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How is 'The Curious Case of the Clockwork Cleaner' adaptable to my school?


The basic premise of 'The Curious Case of the Clockwork Cleaner' is that a school cleaner, Conan Drum, has been found dead in the school library and the police suspect foul play. The four prime suspects are fictional characters, and students have to examine the range of clues to establish who did it, why they did it, and how they did it. They also have to decide how the other three suspects could be eliminated.


There is no need for your school staff members to adopt roles within the mystery. All that would be required is for one member of staff to act as the 'Crime Scene Manager'. This is because several clues contain subtle ideas that can lead on to hidden clues. The Crime Scene Manager's role would be to keep the hidden clues out of sight and only reveal them if the students make appropriate verbal observations about certain visible clues. Full information about how to manage the hidden clues is provided in the kit's guidance materials.


'The Curious Case of the Clockwork Cleaner' 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 Curious Case of the Clockwork Cleaner' is particularly suitable for students aged 11-14. Some of the clues contain a substantial 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. 


Although they are investigating a fictional murder, we are confident that the materials students are presented with will not prove disturbing or upsetting. 

If run as a large-scale competition, how many students could 'The Curious Case of the Clockwork Cleaner' accommodate?


If used as a whole school competition across a school day in a large library space, the activity 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. The amount of time required to examine the crime scene is dependent upon the students' academic ability and whether they are working in teams. If students are working individually, we recommend that they are allowed at least 60 minutes to investigate. If working in pairs or groups, 40-50 minutes should be sufficient.


How much space does this activity require?


Approximately 10 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 it take to set up?


Less than 45 minutes. After sealing off the crime scene area and marking out the body outline, 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 murder 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 68 clue cards/posters 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 (i.e: the red herrings).

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 or laminated paper, and we offer a guarantee to send electronic copies of any that need reprinting due to loss or damage. When using 'The Curious Case of the Clockwork Cleaner' 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.



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