Detective Agency


Grade 6-12 Forensic Science Mini-Course

Created by Elisa Gopin
Boise State University
EdTech 523

Traditional face-to-face activity

This isn't really based on any one icebreaker I found, it's based on ideas in several icebreakers that I liked. However, it most closely resembles an icebreaker called The Feature Story where students interview each other - Interviews can be a great way to get to know another student, but I did not want a situation with individual interviews because I wanted students to get to know the whole class. This is something that can take time for shy kids, and by the time they are comfortable talking to everyone in class friendships and cliques have already formed.

Modified online version

Choose a fact about yourself that you want to share with others in the group. It can be your favorite food/movie/song, a hobby, something you don't like to do, a vacation you recently took, etc. Try to choose something interesting and unique, however it should not be too personal that you mind everyone in the class knowing! Create 3 clues for your classmates about the thing you've chosen to share and post them in the class forum on Moodle.

You can choose something like:
  • I went to France with my family over the summer break
  • I recently got my first iPod touch
  • I love the Harry Potter movies so much I own a wizard's robe with the Gryffindor logo
  • Anything else that is exciting and fun that you'd like to share! (remember, nothing too personal or embarrassing!)

Now, put on your detective's hat! You have one week to “interview” classmates by posting replies on the forum. You can ask questions about the clues, and try to guess what the clues point to that your classmate is trying to share. You will also answer questions posted to you about the thing you've chosen to share. Try to guess as many of your classmates' “secrets” as you can!

Be respectful, and remember that rules of netiquette apply. If you have a friend in the class and already know what he or she has chosen to share based on reading the clues, then please do not give away the answer! Let others continue to guess until they get it, and concentrate on guessing “secrets” of classmates that you did not know before class started.

When all the "secrets" have been correctly discovered, find at least 3 other people with whom you have something in common, based on the secrets you've chosen to share, and reply to each person in the forum describing what you have in common.


This was developed for an asynchronous course, but could be used in synchronous environment as well.