Monday, June 4, 2018

Something's Fishy!

There are times that reviews come at the most perfect time and it makes me giddy!  Such was the case with Something's Fishy at Lake Iwannafisha from The Critical Thinking Co.  Seriously!  We are in the middle of a move and our school schedule has been a bit wonky, so this gem of a product was a perfect fit for when the boys and I had some time here and there to work.

The Critical Thinking Co. has always been a favorite in our house.  Their colorful workbooks and mind challenging products never disappoint.  We have used a few math books, a few deductive reasoning books, and even a few of their computer programs over the years.

Something's Fishy at Lake IwannafishaWe received Something's Fishy by way of a downloadable PDF.  I printed it all out with one easy click of a button and then spiral bound it myself.  I did choose to separate it into two parts so it was easy for us to read the "lesson" part of the program and work on the case without having to flip back and forth too much.

There are instructions for how to print out multiples of specific pages if you choose to do this with a larger group such as a co-op.   Since I used it with just my two boys, we printed one complete copy, but then made each of them responsible for reading separate parts.

So what is Something's Fishy?
It is a Forensic Science detective program.  Geared for grades 5 and up, it is quite challenging.  The case file is presented and the crime scene is described.

The pages following are informational and meant to teach basic forensics that will be needed to solve the case.  Topics cover-
  • Anthropology (determining age, gender, race, height of a person) 
  • Arson
  • Ballistics
  • Counterfeit money
  • Death Investigation (Place of death, time of death, etc.)
  • Forensic Autopsy
  • Document and Handwriting Analysis
  • Fingerprints

How it works-
As you proceed through the case, different elements of the crime are mentioned and then questions are asked.  You begin by filling in investigation notes, describing the evidence and things like where it was recovered and how it might help you solve the case  You also list who you want to interview and why.  Witness interview notes are included as are witness statements and other needed reports.  The next thing to do is fill in several forensic lab reports.  You must reference the information pages to answer the questions and form opinions on the who, what, and whens of the case.

What is neat about this program is your child is in charge.  They must use their brain to determine what questions they want to ask, who they want to interview and what evidence is important.  I imagine that if you did this with 5 different children you would see five different ways they tackled the crime.

Our experience-
As I mentioned, my boys worked on this together.  That was not the original intent.  Colby, our 10 year old, started it alone with me, but our 16 year old soon got interested and joined us.  They took turns reading and writing in answers over a period of several days.  I really thought our favorite part would be the ballistics part of the program, but as it turned out the counterfeit money section piqued their interest and we took a LARGE bunny trail to look up a bunch of stuff on counterfeiting.  The program provided a great website address with tons of information and Salem, our 16 year old, provided the money to investigate.  We remembered we had a black light used for art and were able to see some of the markings on the bills that are not easily seen with the naked eye.

Another part that Colby really enjoyed was the fingerprint section so we spent some time examining our own fingerprints as well.

I will admit that Colby was the first to solve the crime.  He's quick like that!  Doesn't hurt that he read ahead of us a few times as well.  I checked the answer key, and yep, he was correct!

His only complaint with this program was that it did not tell the WHYS of the crime.  Being a detail person like he is he wanted more details...why they did it, and exactly every single step of the timeline.

Note from a fellow mom- I did not think the forensic details in this program were over the top, gory, or inappropriate for kids 5th grade and above.  That being said, do be aware that it discusses a murder case and talks about autopsy details, how to determine when someone died, and processing bones.  If you have a child that may be sensitive to those kinds of details you may want to preview first or skip this altogether.

My sons, especially the youngest, are pretty protected, and the youngest is exceptionally sensitive, but they loved this program.  They viewed it from a scientific and mystery stand point only and never once blinked an eye at the details presented.  If you have a child with an investigative mind who likes a good mystery, they will probably love Something's Fishy at Lake Iwannafisha.

Thanks to our friends at The Critical Thinking Co. for offering this great coupon code to our readers.
Happy shopping!

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