“Bear Scare” from One Minute Mysteries: 65 Short Mysteries You Solve with Science by Eric & Natalie Yoder. I like this one because it is wintry (and, boy, is it wintry right now!) and the solution relies on the kids knowing that bears hibernate in winter, which I think even the youngest kids will know. The bigger kids needed a little bit of guidance to get to the answer, but were able to figure it out.
We didn’t have time to do this with the older kids. With the younger kids, I led off with this activity. First we looked at “Perky Has Got Big Change” from Case Closed?! 40 Mini-Mysteries for You to Solve by Jurg Obrist.
– Arrange 8-10 objects. Examine for 1 minute. One partner removes/moves 2-3 objects. Can the other partner ID them? Switch.
“Dirty Fingers” from Case Closed?! 40 Mini-Mysteries for You to Solve by Jurg Obrist.
– making fingerprints w/pencil on cards; analyze own fingerprints and then try to match unknown to known fingerprints
With the older kids, I read “The Case of the Last Moreno” from Two-Minute Mysteries by Donald Sobol. This one also relied on knowledge of cold weather. Again, it took some prompting, but they figured it out. This time, I had them retell the story to see if the could pick out the relevant clues. It was hard to get them to stop shouting out guesses mid-story.
– matching top & bottom halves of notes
– Pen chromatography
“The Crypto Caper” from Super Sleuth: Mini-Mysteries for You to Solve by Falcon Travis. We didn’t have time to do this with either group, but I used it for Boys & Books when we discussed Edgar Allan’s Official Crime Investigation Notebook.