Something Fishy at Lake Iwannafisha ~ Review

This past school year AJ and I joined a co-op for the first time, and we loved it. I was able to teach last semester, and one of the classes that I taught was called Mystery Detective. In the class the students used clues and logic skills to solve mysteries. The class was a hit! The kids were excited and you could just see the wheels in their heads turning. So I decided to do a similar class when we meet back up in the fall.

When we were given the chance to review A Whodunnit Forensic Mystery called, Something Fishy at Lake Iwannafisha , from The Critical Thinking Co.™. I thought it would be the perfect product. The plan was to have AJ work through the book now, and if we liked it I would purchase it for my co-op class. After working on the mystery for a few weeks, it is definitely going to be the book I use in my co-op class next fall!

The Critical Thinking Co.™

What is Something’s Fishy at Lake Iwannafisha?

The students are given some basic information about a crime. They are told that the police were called to a fishing cabin where they found a building on fire, a dead body, bones in the woods, stacks of money, and a few guns. They are given the crime scene report and a map of the crime scene. Then it is up to them to solve the crime. They have to decide how to proceed with the investigation. Do they want to look at witness statements? Maybe they want to look at the anthropology report to learn more about the bones that were found, or the ballistics report to learn more about the bullets found at the scene.

Throughout the mystery the students use logic skills along with information they have learned about forensic evidence to figure out what happened.

I received a 124 page soft-covered book, but it is also available as a downloadable e-book. It is designed for students in grades five through twelve. It can be worked on individually, but I feel it would be better suited for small groups of students.

How the Book is Set Up

Something's Fishy at Lake Iwannafisha

The book begins with Teacher Instructions. This section lists everything that you as the parent or teacher needs to know to use the mystery with your students. It tells you which pages you need to print out for each student, or group. It also has step by step instructions and helpful hits for solving the mystery. This section also has background information about the crime, suspect profiles, and more so you know exactly what happened.

The next section is the Forensic Evidence Lessons. This section is presented to the students before they start solving the mystery.

Each lesson is two to four pages long. They learn about:

  • Anthropology
  • Arson
  • Ballistics
  • Counterfeit Money
  • Entomology and Autopsy
  • Handwriting Analysis and
  • Fingerprints

The main section of the book in the Crime Scene Reports and General Forms. This section has all of the pages that the student will need. It has all of the witness statements, forensic reports, and worksheets that the student will need to solve the mystery.

The final section is the Answer Key which has detailed answers for all of the worksheets.

How We Used the Book

Because of slow shipping, we have only had the book for about two weeks, so AJ has not finished the mystery yet. We started off with the forensic evidence lessons. Each day we did one lesson. The lessons were extremely interesting. In the anthropology lesson she learned how bones could be used to determine age, gender, and race. She also learned how height estimates can be made when only some bones are found. This lead to measuring bones and using the calculations to see if they were close to her height. She enjoyed the fingerprint lesson as well. She has learned about fingerprints before, but this went in to much more detail.

Then I printed off the pages she would need to solve the mystery. The physical book gives you access to an online library of the pages to print off in PDF form to make it easy to make copies for your family or class. I found that to be very helpful. That way if she made a mistake, I could simply print off a new sheet.

Each day I have her ask for a new piece of information, and she fills out the pages that go with the section. She learned about the bones at the crime scene when she looked at the anthropology report.

Then she had to use her prior knowledge to decide if the bones belonged to a male or female, their race, their age, and their height. Each report, statement, or piece of information that they want to see has a worksheet with questions for the student to fill out to help them solve the mystery.

What We Thought

I was expecting this book to give vague information about each area of forensics, but I was wrong! I learned so much right along side AJ. She is having great time solving the mystery.

The book is well organized and easy to teach.

Solving the mystery takes time and a lot of logic skills, but it is doable. It has become a part of the day that I look forward to.

The book is perfect to use in a co-op or classroom. I can’t wait to use Something Fishy at Lake Iwannafisha with my co-op class this fall. I think they are going to love learning more of the forensic side of the mysteries.

If you are looking for a mystery to keep your student thinking and having fun while learning, I highly recommend this book! Members of the Homeschool Review Crew received different items from theThe Critical Thinking Co.™Find out what they thought by clicking the graphic below!

Critical Thinking, Understanding Math & Vocabulary {The Critical Thinking Co.™ Reviews}

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