On Monday morning, 102 teams of students - each including a Lower Sixth student and students across Years 7 to 10 - were set the challenge of investigating a series of (fictitious) crimes committed at the school over the weekend. From the stealing of a painting - held ransom until ‘Fish and Chip Friday’ was reinstated to the weekly lunch menu - to the forgery of examination certificates, the teams of detectives had to assimilate a mountain of information in a relatively short time-frame to work out who was responsible.
The main objective of the day was to challenge the girls in ways that they have not been challenged before: to provide a complex set of parameters for them to consider and work through to discover solutions. Initial confusion and disquiet at not being presented with a clear set of guidelines to easily find a solution was replaced by a buzz of discussion and practical discovery as groups began to piece together their thoughts.
The second, but equally important objective, was to fuse the STEAM subjects together in the various clues and tests that the girls had to solve.The crimes had a largely STEAM-based theme and the students needed to consider a range of empirical evidence to help develop ideas and arguments.
For example, the girls used chromatography to test ink samples to uncover the art department as the certificate forgers and tested the tensile strength of various wires to understand that a badminton string was used to steal a rare Koi Carp from the pond! pH tests revealed that the science department were guilty of distilling energy drinks for sale on the black market and they worked together to crack a cypher to uncover a code.
Groups were observed having wonderful and creative conversations in the labs and beyond, and as the day went on, pennies began to drop. However, the greatest amount of energy was reserved for the interrogations and questions aimed at the suspects in each department. The girls grilled the staff (acting from a script) about the crimes and misdemeanours around the site, in some cases refusing to believe they were being told the truth- fancy that? Bolstered by witnesses and crime scene operatives, the staff enthusiastically played their part in a day in which the girls excelled.
At the grand finale, all was revealed and the truth about the mysterious crimes became clear, from the sports department having broken a window during a high-octane, late night game of crazy golf, to the languages department having stolen (and cooked for their annual meal) the prized school Koi carp! Our teams of detectives had all done a brilliantly well trying to solve the crimes but it was a team from Shepperd House that took the honours, solving almost all of the mysteries. However, they were all winners having fully immersed themselves in the process and having learnt new skills. Our huge thanks go to Mr Carroll and the team from the Exploration Company that organised one of the most ambitious activity days we've seen at Godolphin and Latymer. How shall we top that next year?