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CSI Twitter- Crime Scene Investigation

CSI- Crime Scene Investigation at school!

Third graders find unidentified skeleton on school campus.

Unidentified skeleton found on school campus

Unidentified skeleton found on school campus

What is one to do, when you find such a specimen on school grounds? Students across grade levels took a mini fieldtrip to the pond on campus to examine the skeleton. The BIG question for everyone, including teachers was: WHAT kind of animal was it? What an opportunity and teachable moment for students and teachers to collaborate in the investigation process and find out.

We had different approaches to the investigation:

Approach A:

  • took photos of skeleton and xeroxed copies for students to take home and do research involving parents
  • researched online for different images from animal skeletons to compare
  • using parent veterinarian as resource
  • got in touch with school librarian

Approach B:

  • took photos of skeleton and e-mailed them to local Museum of Science and History, local zoo and Florida Fish & Wildlife Service
  • e-mailed photos to local veterinarian.
  • posted request for identification and research help on School Librarians listserve
  • blogged about it on The Barefoot Librarian – Can you identify this Aninmal Skeleton?
  • took the opportunity for lesson with 2nd & 3rd graders to talk about and demonstrate inquiry and research process
    • first stop library for reference interview
    • use books and online resources to narrow search
    • contact local experts
    • evaluate your sources. What makes an expert? (Animal lover versus Florida Fish & Wildlife Service Employee)

Approach C:

  • took images of skeleton with iPhone
  • uploaded to Twitpic, which sent  automatic tweet to  Twitter network
First set of images sent to Twitpic

First set of images sent to Twitpic

Second set of images sent to Twitpic

Second set of images sent to Twitpic

Over the next three hours the “shout out” for help in identifying the skeleton received over 50 Twitter responses with

  • links to resources to further investigate
  • guesses on what it could be
  • help to get experts involved
  • questions to help further narrow the answers down
  • advice where else to publish questions and take advantage of the power of social networking

Following the tweet

TweetDeck-flickr-idplease

I uploaded the image to the ID-Please group on Flickr.

Flickr_ ID Please

http://www.flickr.com/groups/idplease/

After a few hours, comments were left by other Flickr users

After a few hours, comments were left by other Flickr users

Note being left direcly on image, identifying the three teeth being typical of a racoon.

Note being left directly on image, identifying the three teeth being typical of a raccoon.

Another tip came and suggested to upload the image to a site called “idthis.org

TweetDeck-idthis

http://idthis.org/

http://idthis.org/

The Twitter network also jumped in and retweeted (RT) the request for help onward to their network

TweetDeck-retweet

Guesses and further questions what animal it could be flooded in

TweetDeck-ideasand question

TweetDeck-guess

TweetDeck-guess-1

TweetDeck-guess-3

TweetDeck-guess-2

TweetDeck-more-detail

TweetDeck-question

TweetDeck-questions

Suggestion of getting in touch with experts who could help our investigation along or expert’s guesses:

TweetDeck-expert

TweetDeck-expert-1

TweetDeck-expert2

TweetDeck-experts3

TweetDeck-experts4

TweetDeck-forensic

Links to more Resources:

TweetDeck-resource

TweetDeck-resources2

TweetDeck-resources3

I am amazed, again, at the power of the network. As the investigation spread across our school campus, so it did across the network. Having a support team, a flood of resources and experts at your fingertips (literally), it is truly an example how learning, research, has changed through the collaboration, connecting and communication tools of the social network era.

I am happy to report, that all three approaches of research came to the same conclusion.

Our skeleton seems to be a raccoon skeleton.

Our librarian has collected the specimen and is shipping it, as we speak, to the Florida Fish & Wildlife Services, who have offered to clean it up, give us a positive identification and ship it back to us.

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Currently there are "23 comments" on this Article:

  1. Hiram Cuevas says:

    Silvia, what a fantastic activity! I found the former science teacher in me thoroughly enjoying being part of the collective detective work. Not only did you introduce problem solving but you also illustrated so well that multiple paths can produce similar and validated results.

    Kudos to you and your students on a wonderful activity and experience. I can’t help but wonder who in your class is now fired up about forensic science.

  2. Laura Thomas says:

    Just wanted to let you know that our Environmental Studies faculty members Jon Atwood and Meade Cadot also say that the skeleton is a raccoon! What a great activity!

  3. Heidi says:

    buenísimo este descubrimiento y genial cómo lo resolvieron….
    me encantó ver las maneras que utilizaron para resolverlo!!!! FELICITACIONES esto es lo que se llama aprendizaje auténtico, no???
    Envidia, “de la sana”, me genera esta experiencia….

  4. Jun says:

    This is the way learning should be! I wish I was in your class =)

    Some thoughts on other activities:

    Experts come to help kids “clean-up” and do CSI thingies with it. Find out how it died, and knowing info about it in the process like habitat, food, predators, level in the food chain, population (near extinction or overpopulated) etc.,

    Kids examine skeleton, write essays about it and the experience, etc.

    Share find with other grade levels. Maybe even high school! And share everything you did that others across the world might find valuable.

    Great job!

  5. Outstanding project that shows the global reach and support of Twitter.

    I added a link to this great learning moment to the Crime page on my website:

    http://cybraryman.com/crime.html

  6. [...] 17: Blog Post I found this article a little interesting.  An unidentified skeleton was found on school grounds and the school did a [...]

  7. [...] Langwitches Blog » CSI Twitter- Crime Scene Investigation [...]

  8. Melanie Hughes says:

    An absolute cracker of a learning activity and one that shows the power of a personal learning network in a very powerful way. Congratulations to you all for such an intersting story on solving a problem and especially for sharing it.

  9. jeffmason says:

    Any word yet from FWC?

  10. [...] The power of the PLN (Personal Learning Network) [...]

  11. [...] a fantastic recent example of mobile learning (and in this case, also social learning):   CSI Twitter: Kids find a mysterious skeleton and learn about forensics, using an iPhone and Twitpic (now that’s what I call cutting edge elementary school [...]

  12. [...] a fantastic recent example of mobile learning (and in this case, also social learning):   CSI Twitter: Kids find a mysterious skeleton and learn about forensics, using an iPhone and Twitpic (forget training kids for standardized multiple-choice tests… if you want your child to [...]

  13. [...] across a good case of Twitter in learning (Problem-based learning scenario), refer to this link: http://langwitches.org/blog/2009/12/04/csi-twitter-crime-scene-investigation/. In a nutshell, a skeleton is found on school grounds and students now have to find what animal it [...]

  14. [...] process driven learning environment. Silvia chronicles the process brilliantly in her post, “CSI Twitter – Crime Scene Investigation.” I have to admit being thoroughly enthralled watching the process unfold. Yes, there was [...]

  15. [...] and the value a network can have as a source of information & resources [...]

  16. [...] (For Skype calls around the World), ask for advice, disseminate a project or request feedback (CSI Twitter) . How do I move from being that sole connector and disseminator to preparing students for that [...]

  17. [...] Silvia Tolisano’s third-grade students found an unidentified animal skeleton on the playground, for example. Rather than taking a picture and enlisting the help of parents or the school librarian, Tolisano uploaded the photo to Twitter, soliciting help from those in her PLN. The skeleton – a raccoon – was identified within a few hours. [...]

  18. [...] Silvia Tolisano’s third-grade students found an unidentified animal skeleton on the playground, for example. Rather than taking a picture and enlisting the help of parents or the school librarian, Tolisano uploaded the photo to Twitter, soliciting help from those in her PLN. The skeleton – a raccoon – was identified within a few hours. [...]

  19. [...] CSI Twitter CSI Twitter- Crime Scene Investigation [...]

  20. [...] Silvia Tolisano‘s third-grade students found an unidentified animal skeleton on the playground, for example. Rather than taking a picture and enlisting the help of parents or the school librarian, Tolisano uploaded the photo to Twitter, soliciting help from those in her PLN. The skeleton – a raccoon – was identified within a few hours. [...]

  21. What a fun inquiry project! Such a great use of social media in the classroom! http://t.co/xgLyn9WB #sd73PL

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