Crime Scene Investigation

In the Crime Scene Investigation ESL activity, students speculate on the story behind objects found at a crime scene.

Students for Crime Scene Investigation ESL Activity:1+Time for Crime Scene Investigation ESL Activity:20-40 mins
Resources for Crime Scene Investigation ESL Activity:

Divide the class into pairs.

  1. Set the scene by telling the students there has been a murder/robbery at a nearby office/bank.
  2. Elicit from the students six to eight objects found at the crime scene, and write them on the board. For example, a ripped piece of clothing, a key, a knife, a half-signed contract, some mud, a broken pair of sunglasses… – try and include some unusual items!
  3. Explain to the students that they are the detectives, and they have to try and work out what happened based on those items.
  4. In pairs, they write a short report/story about what happened, using the target language. They must include an explanation for all the objects found.
  5. When they are finished, the pairs take turns presenting their reports/story. Other students can challenge the reasoning if they wish.
  6. At the end, ask the class which they think is the most convincing explanation and why.
Target Language

Use the Crime Scene Investigation ESL activity to practise modal verbs of past possibility or narrative tenses, or even as a warmer for more advanced classes.

If your focus is modal verbs, the students should describe their deductions using this language. For example, Someone must have brought the knife to threaten or attack someone, or The clothes could have been ripped during a fight.

To practise narrative tenses, ask students instead to describe what they think happened. For example, The two business people had agreed a deal, but while they were signing the contract someone broke into the room…

Alternatively, you could use the activity as part of a topic on crime. In this case, students should try and include some recently learned vocabulary words in their explanations.

For another fun crime activity which you can also use to practise modal verbs of past possibility, try School Cluedo.

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