Creating the Magic: The students walked into a crime scene where Finnegan O’Malley, the leprechaun, had ransacked the classroom. They had to uncover clues that would hopefully lead them to the capture of that tricky leprechaun. Our students received their detective badges and became part of the Shamrock Detective Agency. The “detectives” immediately began working through different investigations to uncover clues in order to lead them to the tricky leprechaun.
|The scene of the crime|
Classroom Set Up: You can go as crazy as you want with this or keep it simple! We hung crime scene tape (you could also use caution tape) outside of our classroom door and near the “crime” scene. To keep costs down, you could also make your own crime scene or caution tape by cutting long strips of yellow butcher paper and writing CRIME SCENE or CAUTION on them. Outside of the classroom door, we created a “mess” (dumped out math manipulatives and added little green footprints). Inside of the classroom, we turned some chairs upside down, wrote on the white board with green marker, dumped some containers, turned items around or upside down, and spread gold coins and three and four leave clovers around. Let your inner leprechaun out! To add to the authenticity of the crime scene, we made evidence markers and placed them around the room next to different pieces of “evidence” (the footprints, a turned over chair, a green crayon on the floor, etc.). We also created red evidence tape that we taped on boxes and paper lunch sacks. We spread these boxes and bags throughout the room to add an extra touch.
Remember, you can also keep this very simple. Especially if the idea of cleaning up leprechaun footprints and leprechaun messes, isn’t your idea of a good time. The day will still be very magical and fun with a few or even no extra touches.
We asked them if they wanted to become detectives and join the Shamrock Detective Agency, so that we could try and catch the mischievous leprechaun. Of course, it was a resounding YES! Students were given detective badges, plastic fedoras (Amazon, of course! They are pretty cheap, and we use them for all kinds of things. We just “Lysoled” them after use), case file folders (with all of their recording sheets stapled inside), and were sworn in.
Finnegan O’Malley, the leprechaun, left them a note explaining that they could gather clues by completing investigations which would hopefully lead them to him at the end of the day. After students finished an “investigation” or completed a “protocol procedure” (center), they got to see the clue from inside of the envelope at their center spot. At the end of the center time, we gathered all of the envelopes, pulled out the clues, and unscrambled the sentence. It said…”To find my gold, go take a look where you can find a ____.” At this point, they saw that one clue is missing. They found the envelope that had the final riddle from Finnegan glued to the front. Once they figured out it was “book”, we went to our school library. There, students found a note from Finnegan that said that they didn’t catch him this time but he left a little treat for all of their work and effort. You can make treat bags using the topper included (we put Rolos or Lucky Charms inside) or you can leave a little pencil, sticker, or anything fun! We also had small, green cupcakes waiting for them in the library! You could also just leave a note without the treats. They would be just as excited.
|Students had all of their recording sheets in a case file folder|
|Protocol envelopes were at each center with directions and a clue inside|
We had “investigations” where the students had to complete an academic task, and “Protocols” where the students were creating different leprechaun catching tools. We did all of these tasks, but if time is an issue, just do a few. We allowed about 15 minutes for each “investigation/protocol.”
|Direct drawing the leprechaun|
This was so magical! We prepared the Leprechaun Rocks the day before. Go to http://www.giftofcuriosity.com/magic-leprechaun-rocks-st-patricks-activity/ for the exact recipe! Students investigated the rock and drew a picture of it in the first box on their recording sheet. Then they used the special solution (vinegar) that Finnegan left for them. They had to predict what would happen to their rock when they used the solution. Finally, they poured a little of the solution on the rock and recorded what happened. It was magical and the students were SO excited to find a gold coin hidden inside of their rock!
|Parents helped us unscramble the clues|
|This note was left in the library for the students|
|Little green cupcakes were waiting for our detectives|
|One of our spirited teachers!|