Who Borrowed Mr. Bear?


            Getting students interested in science inquiry can be a difficult task, but students are eager to investigate, explore and do experiments.  First grade forensics is an exciting and engaging educational experience.   Forensic science is the application of science to issues of civil and criminal law, including using scientific tests and methods to help solve crimes.  The students will become detectives who conduct hands on forensic science tests based on evidence they find at our make believe crime scene. 

Crime Scene Description:

            The first thing that the parents and students will see is our makeshift crime scene that is set up in the middle of the auditorium.  The lead detective will instruct the parents and students to observe the scene and take notes in their crime booklets about what they see. Yellow tape will enclose the evidence.  The scene includes 5 stuffed animals, 2 boxes of cookies and 2 pies, 12 footprints, 2 empty soda cans, spilled cola, 2 blankets and 2 pillows.  Once they have written down a few key notes, The Case of The Borrowed Bear will be read aloud to the group.   

Initial Story:

            There is a group of friends named Sam, Bill, Jan, Tina, and Al who all loved stuffed animals.  They started a club called “The Stuffed Animal Adventure Club”.  One day the five friends decided to spend the day together in Sam’s backyard.  Each member of the group brought a stuffed animal with them. Everyone’s parents packed some treats for their fun filled afternoon.  Bill and Jan brought pie while Sam, Tina, and Al brought cookies to share.  Bill and Jan were wearing their favorite kinds of perfume.  The five friends couldn’t agree on what to do next.  Sam wanted to play hopscotch, but Bill wanted to take the stuffed animals swimming at the ocean, Jan wanted to play in the grass, but both Tina and Al wanted to go swimming.   The group got tired of arguing and started to get very sleepy.  So they decided to get their blankets and pillows to take a nap…..

            To their surprise, when they woke up from their nap 2 hours later, Sam was very upset.  Sam saw that Mr. Bear was soaking wet and looked filthy.  It seemed that one of the 5 friends had not taken their nap.  Instead, someone must have stayed awake and played with Mr. Bear!

            It is your job as crime scene investigators to try to solve the mystery by figuring out who stayed awake and played with Mr. Bear without asking permission. 

(Lead Detective Points group over to Station 1)

Station 1:

At this station students will compare fingerprints on a cup to those on the suspect fingerprint chart.  The station leader will introduce the station by saying, “Who drank cola from this cup?  We’ll find out by checking whose fingerprints are on the cup.  Keep in mind that more than one person’s fingerprints may be on this cup.”

Actual cups will be set up with fingerprint photocopies pasted to each cup. Magnifying glasses will be aligned on the front of the table, and the fingerprint suspect sheets will be in their booklet for a reference.  A teacher will assist students and parents with magnifying glasses and observations.   Students and parents will decide which suspect’s fingerprint they should circle in their clue books based on what they observed through the magnifying glass. 

(The station leader then directs parents and students to station 2)

Station 2:

At this station students will compare 2 types of perfumes to the scent of the bear.  The station leader will introduce this station by saying, “ On Mr. Bear we also found the smell of perfume or cologne.  Bill wears cologne and Jan wears perfume.  Which scent is on Mr. Bear?” A stack of index cards will be sprayed with Perfume A (Jan’s perfume) and a stack of index cards will be sprayed with Perfume B (Bill’s perfume).  The students and parents will pick up one of each card and compare the scent to that of the 5 teddy bears (all 5 bears sprayed with same scent). 

(The station leader then directs parents and students to station 3)

Station 3:

            At this station students will determine which type of powder was found on Mr. Bear (cookie or pie).  The station leader will introduce this station by saying, “ On Mr. Bear we also found traces of powder.  It was either cookie crumbs or tiny pieces of pie crust. If the mixture turns purple or black then it is pie powder but if it turns yellow then it is cookie powder.  Which food is on Mr. Bear?”  1 tiny spoonful of baking powder will be placed in a soufflé cup.  2 drops of Iodine will be added to the mixture.  If it turns purple or black then it is pie powder.  If it is yellow then it is cookie powder.

(The station leader then directs parents and students to station 4)

Station 4

At this station students will test the acidity of a liquid by taking a piece of litmus paper and dipping it into ice cube liquid.  The station leader will say “We figured out that whoever borrowed Mr. Bear may have also put sleeping potion in the soda that the rest of the club members were drinking”.  If the paper turns green, sleeping potion was used.  If the paper turns yellow, sleeping potion was not used.

Wrap Up

After the last group has successfully completed each station, they will stop at our final point of interest: the “Who done it?” chart.  A large suspect poster will be hung on the wall where each parent and child can place a Post-It note under who they think committed the crime. Everyone will then be directed to place a comment card in the box and then to their child’s classroom where the “real story” will be read. 

The real story of “Who Borrowed Mr. Bear?”

“Mom can I take some cookies with me?” Sam yelled up the stairs as he pulled on his red t-shirt.  “Where are you going?”, Sam heard his mother ask through the upstairs bathroom.  “To the stuffed animal adventure club” said Sam.  “Sure go ahead and take some cookies, there are some in a big bag on the counter.  Why don’t you take some drinks too?” said his mother.

Sam grabbed the cookies, some colas and Mr. Bear and ran out the door.  Just then Sam decided to bring some cups and ice cubes.  When he looked in the kitchen, he saw there was only one plastic cup left so he grabbed it.  He looked in the freezer but couldn’t find any ice cubes.  Sam’s mother was a scientist and he knew she kept ice cubes in another freezer in her lab.  He wasn’t supposed to go in there alone but went in to get the ice cubes anyway.  Sam didn’t know that his mom had been experimenting with a new sleeping potion and that some of the ice cubes contained the drowsy powder.

When Sam met with his friends they started to argue about how to spend the afternoon. “Let’s stop arguing and cool off with some cola” said Al.  “I only have one cup, so we will have to share” said Sam.  “No thanks I will just drink from the can” said Bill.  “Me too” said Jan.  Sam, Tina and Al took turns passing the cup around.  While they were drinking, their fingerprints got all over the cup.  Sam, Al and Tina got really tired and fell asleep, but Bill and Jan weren’t sleepy at all.  “Let’s go play while they are asleep!” said Jan. “I’ve got a good idea” said Bill, “I’m going to take Mr. Bear too because Sam never lets me play with him”.

Bill and Jan hurried off to the pool and when they came back they ate some pie.  There was some white pie powder on the side of the pie pan and they accidentally spilled some on Mr. Bear.  Because Jan’s perfume had wore off while swimming she put on some more but some must have rubbed off onto Mr. Bear.  Bill and Jan saw that their friends were about to wake up so they put Mr. Bear back where Sam left him and pretended to be asleep.

When Sam woke he saw that Mr. Bear was soaking wet and dirty.  He was so upset that his bear was in such bad shape and also that one of the other members of the stuffed animal club had borrowed his bear without his permission.

Bill and Jan felt bad for what they had done and before Sam started to cry Jan said “look Sam, Bill and I borrowed your bear without asking you first after all of you fell asleep. Our feelings were hurt that you never let us borrow Mr. Bear but that was no excuse for taking him.”  Sam looked at Bill and Jan and saw that they both looked truly sorry for what they had done.  “It’s okay guys, I’m not mad anymore and I’m glad you told the truth.  Maybe I should let everyone take turns during our stuffed animal adventures instead of just keeping him to myself. We’re all friends here and I’m sorry too that I forgot that.

The End


Before parents depart we will thank them for their participation in our special science day and students will be dismissed for lunch.