Remote Murder Mystery

Remote Activity, £60 per class, KS2

There has been a murder! The “body” is to be found in The 1900s Town at Beamish. Clues have been left behind. The students need to tell the inspector what to do to solve the crime.

This Zoom-led activity brings the museum straight into the classroom. The clues will be sent to the teacher beforehand so the children can access these as they are revealed by the inspector. The inspector will be led by the children into different parts of the museum, such as the Co-op, garage, printers and bank, to uncover the story. In so doing they will get a sense of the history of the period. They will need to discover the names of the victim and the murderer, their addresses and the reason the crime happened.

The children will learn:

  • How to solve a problem.
  • What pieces of information are useful and what are not.
  • How to put relevant pieces of information together to solve a problem.
  • How make accurate and relevant notes.
  • How to Piece together the story in order to understand what happened.

Please note that the teacher in the classroom will have an active role to play to support the children as the crime is revealed by the inspector.

  • Target Age: Key Stage 2
  • Cost: £60
  • Duration: Up to one hour
  • Group Size: Full class (has been delivered to more than one class at the same time)
  • Season: All year round

Guidelines for Teachers

Preparing for the Zoom activity: It is strongly recommended that supervising staff should test the connection between the museum and classroom before the session. Contact Simon Woolley, Head of Learning, email simonwoolley@beamish.org.uk  to make arrangements for this (details below).   The inspector only needs to be able to hear the children in order to make the activity work. Some classes have used the chat facility to instruct the inspector as to where to go and what to do.

Practicalities:

  • Use of an effective microphone has been beneficial but not essential to the success of the Zoom activity, otherwise children can come up to the laptop to ask a question or make a suggestion as to what to do, or the chat facility can be used.
  • The clues can be printed out for the children beforehand and passed around as they are revealed. All clues will be available. It is possible that some of the clues are not explored in depth during the session but these can be revisited post session. It is beneficial but not essential that the clues are offered to the children as the inspector reveals them, and not before.
  • The inspector knows the story and may give indications as to what the children could explore. It is useful (but not essential) that the teacher recognises these verbal and visual clues to support the children in their learning.
  • There may be localised school rules that the inspector may not be aware of regarding online activities for the children, it is important that these are discussed beforehand so everybody is clear about how the session will be delivered.

Outline of the activity:

The inspector (in period costume) will start the session outside the bank on The 1900s Town street at the museum. They will explain that they have been called because someone in The Town witnessed a fracas taking place, that they have investigated and have discovered a body. The inspector will briefly show the children the street scene and show them some of the buildings. The presentation includes is a map of The Town available for the children as they try and solve the crime.

Then the inspector will travel to the scene of the crime, revealing the body. The children will direct the inspector as to what to do once there. The clues will be collected, investigated and decisions made as to where to go next to find the information to solve the crime. All the clues around the body (and in his pockets) will be investigated before going elsewhere. Children should take notes about the clues and then decide between themselves where to go next.

The inspector will then travel around the museum, following the instructions of the children. The inspector will not be able to go to The Pit Village or the Rowley Station because there will not be enough time to do this.

Please note, the children may make the wrong assumptions about the clues as they attempt to decipher what has happened, for example they may muddle the victim with the murderer, but as more pieces of evidence are added they should quickly recognise their initial errors.

During the activity, the children will need to find six pieces of information: the names of the victim and the murderer; their addresses; the reason the victim was chosen; and the reasons the murderer committed the crime.

Objectives of the activity:

  • To encourage the development of problem solving skills.
  • To develop and use thinking skills such as questioning, planning, making decisions and judgements and the synthesis of information.
  • To collect enough information about what happened to be able to write an effective newspaper report.

Ideas for pre and post visit:

  • Pre: Prior to the experience, students should be told a little about what they will be doing. It might be useful to have the children in the room when the connection is tested prior to the actual session.
  • Post: Possible follow-up activities could be:
    • Write the story of the murder in pictures or words, using all the clues available.
    • Create a drama around the events leading up to the murder.
    • Read extracts from detective novels and explore how suspense was created and maintained, then students can create their own piece of detective writing, describing their own solving of the murder.
    • Create their own newspaper report about the crime.

If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact us. Telephone Simon Woolley, Head of Learning, on 0191 370 4011 or email simonwoolley@beamish.org.uk.


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