Argument Writing: Murder mystery scenarios aid in explaining evidence


Lunchroom Murder

Who killed Fannin?

Engaging students in authentic real-life challenges is very difficult for many educators, but it is vital to student learning. One resource which supported my efforts in teaching argumentative writing, a new Common Core Writing style, comes in the form of murder mystery found in Teaching Argument Writing; the activity was called Whodunit?

Writing an argument to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence is a challenge. However, introducing visual evidence (observations) from murder mysteries and making logical warrants to support the visual evidence allowed students to put themselves in the place of a detective. Each piece of evidence needed to be given a rule. For example, if a person allegedly “fell down the stairs” and the person was facing upward the witness testimony would not be logical/valid in an argument.

photo 3

My students were instantly engaged in solving the mystery murder. Plus, it forced them to look at the evidence and draw logical conclusions from their findings.

Here is one of my student’s findings from the Lunchroom Murder photo above:

The individual who executed Fannin is person C. The verification is that he dined with his left hand and shot the gun with his left hand as well. This is evident as the right handprint on the wall denotes that he must have fired the shot from his left hand. Also, the silverware beside person C’s plate was placed on the left side, indicating his left hand dominance.  After he murdered Fannin, he sauntered away, leaving the footprints of x.  Also, person B, C, and D knew each other, as their checks all equal $8.75. Person Y is Ernie, because he cashed in the $8.75 into the cash register and after he heard the gun shot, scurried into the kitchen.

 To culminate, the silverware on the left side of person C’s plate and his right handprint on the wall implies that he is the assassin. Also, person B knew person C and D, as they cashed their checks together and sat beside each other. Lastly, person Y is Ernie, who cashed the $8.75. Therefore, person C is the murderer.


About briancookeducator

Husband, Daddy, teacher, #Mountaineer, coach, and aspiring school leader | Thoughts are my own.
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11 Responses to Argument Writing: Murder mystery scenarios aid in explaining evidence

  1. Hi there! This post couldn’t be written any better!

    Reading this post reminds me of my good old room mate!
    He always kept talking about this. I will forward this page to him.
    Fairly certain he will have a good read. Many thanks for sharing!

  2. Nancy Fajardo says:

    My 6th grade class loved doing this activity. Thank you for letting us borrow!!!

  3. Xx_BigSuccDaddy_xX says:

    this is a freally coool progect. I lovve this andd my students use these. Sorrrry for the bad grammer, i anm tipying fast!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1111

  4. hdhd says:

    It is a. Did you know the A is ambidextrous

  5. Gary Winthorpe approved!

  6. Anonymous says:

    How is “Y” Ernie’s footprints? Isn’t Ernie behind the register receiving the money from B, C, and D?

  7. Chase says:

    did A enter the resteraunt before d

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