It’s fast-paced, thrilling and not for the faint-hearted! Being a detective for the day is a great way to improve skills in deduction, investigation and strategic thinking.

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  • Defuse an explosive device planted by a maniac
  • Rescue a kidnap victim before time runs out
  • Solve a murder mystery using powers of deduction
  • Conduct an undercover operation using strategy and cunning
  • Investigate a crime scene and examine forensic evidence

Crime Squad is composed of a variety of tasks each of which, in a different way, draws out students’ higher level thinking skills. It’s all about allowing students to figure things out for themselves, work collaboratively, and through doing that, gain some metacognition about the skills they are using.

It’s fast-paced, thrilling and not for the faint-hearted! Being a detective for the day is a great way to improve skills in deduction, investigation and strategic thinking.

Loading...
  • Defuse an explosive device planted by a maniac
  • Rescue a kidnap victim before time runs out
  • Solve a murder mystery using powers of deduction
  • Conduct an undercover operation using strategy and cunning
  • Investigate a crime scene and examine forensic evidence

Crime Squad is composed of a variety of tasks each of which, in a different way, draws out students’ higher level thinking skills. It’s all about allowing students to figure things out for themselves, work collaboratively, and through doing that, gain some metacognition about the skills they are using.

A suspicious briefcase appears in the school grounds with a complex coded message attached. Then elsewhere, a gang of robbers breaks into the school and runs off with a stash of valuable loot. Meanwhile, the discovery of a gruesome murder leaves everyone looking over their shoulders. And if that isn’t enough drama for one day, someone gets kidnapped but the kidnapper has left only a few clues behind.

On the surface, the theme of the day is enticing – everyone loves a good detective drama. But that’s really just a tongue-in-cheek story line. The serious agenda of Crime Squad is really to explore transferable skills. Tackling tasks which demand a multitude of different thinking skills, students collaborate in teams to solve puzzles, decipher clues and make clever decisions.

As one of our modular courses, Crime Squad requires students to stay in teams and visit several stations over the course of the day. Our Course Leaders stay put whilst the students move around. Each module is designed to address a different set of skills. We may vary the activities or change the emphasis on particular skills depending on a school’s objectives.

A typical day may include:

  • A formal yet energised introduction with everyone together. The schedule is communicated, expectations are set and the fires are lit.
  • A Wiser Words code-cracking task which combines some lateral thinking and hands-on problem solving with logic and deduction
  • A Wiser Words strategy game where students must combine creative thinking with meticulous planning, foresee obstacles and incorporate contingencies
  • A Wiser Words investigation activity about inference, i.e. intelligent guesswork. From examining evidence and piecing clues together, students must estimate probabilities and make decisions as a team about how to move forward.
  • A Wiser Words controlled communication game which evolves as a challenge in presentation and argument. Students must identify key points to communicate as a priority.
  • Everyone back together for a reflection activity to explicitly identify learning points, reinforce ‘aha’ moments and commend achievements

All the tasks in Crime Squad fit our definition of a true team task – it’s impossible for one person to complete them on their own. Collaboration is not only better, it’s essential.

All tasks have a time limit which adds an element of working under pressure. This highlights the tension between the advantages of making quick decisions or spending time evaluating all options and listening to everyone’s ideas.  Equally, it raises questions about communication – when to be concise or assertive, when to give lengthy explanations and when to be silent?

Students gain a deeper understanding of all this through practice and experience but then after all the action, we encourage discussion to reflect and explicitly identify learning points. We would be disappointed if they didn’t complain of being mentally exhausted by the end of the day!

If there’s a fire in the chemistry lab, you need to shout and be to the point. If someone’s about to jump off the roof of a skyscraper, you need to be gentle and think of lots of positive things to say. What about in an academic debate, or in an interview, a meeting, an interrogation, or a courtroom?  … and of course it also depends on whether you’re the interviewer or the interviewee, the barrister, witness or defendant. How many times have you seen the phrase, “I have excellent communication skills” written on a UCAS form or CV? But what does that really mean?

The truth is that these terms such as ‘communication skills’, ‘problem solving’, ‘decision making’ and ‘team skills’, whilst being commonly thrown about, are actually highly complex themes that we will all be analysing, reevaluating and trying to master for the rest of our lives. Problem solving isn’t just one skill – it’s an umbrella term covering many skills and the problems to be solved also come in a wide variety of different shapes and sizes.

So whilst we would never suggest that students will master the art of problem solving or communication from this experience of one or two days, we do endeavour to highlight many of the skills involved and demonstrate how useful they are for academic success and life in general.

This course is ideal for whole year groups and is often delivered for new sixth formers to highlight active learning skills transferable to academic achievement. We can tailor all activities to meet the age, ability and needs of your students. So this course can work as well for students in year 7 as much as for sixth form.

“Although it was a competition, it didn’t feel like there were winners and losers, since we all learned to stick together and all gained from the experience.”
“Really fun and mentally challenging, especially solving mysteries – you had to think of all the possibilities.”

Students from Henrietta Barnett School
“It was very strategic, skilful and energetic so you had to use your brain as well as your feet.”
“The puzzles were thrilling to solve but also very clever and challenging.”

Students from Newbold Community School
“When you complete something you thought was impossible, it feels really good.”
“We got to do everything ourselves and think for ourselves without being spoonfed.”

Students from Sibford School
“This was the best. It was interesting and each task was different and made you think differently.”

Students from The Dormston School
“Even though it appears that we are playing or having fun, we are applying and learning new skills all the time throughout the day.”
“I will volunteer to lead in the future.”

Students from Royal Masonic School for Girls
“I’m extremely shy but I am now friends with people I normally wouldn’t have spoken to.”
“A fantastic course which stretched my range of skills and I also discovered some new ones.”

Students from Hillcrest School and Community College
“It has taught me to use my initiative. Things are not always right there in front of you, you have to do something to find them.”
“You needed to use a lot of skills and manage time really well. Not only was it extremely challenging but also thrilling at the same time.”

Students from St Helen’s School
“I enjoyed the fact that we all participated and everyone had something to do.”
“I learned that it’s ok to voice your opinions as contributing ideas is all part of working as a team.”

Students from Ellowes Hall College
“You really had to think but you didn’t realise you were because you were having a great time!”

Student from The Kindswinford School
“Thoroughly enjoyable, time passed too quickly and I didn’t realise I was actually learning valuable skills!”

Student from Burgess Hill School for Girls
“It has made me a better listener.”

Student from Red Hill School
“It has made me think that if you look closer you will find more than you can actually see. I learnt don’t give up and use your brain more to find what you need and you will.”

Student from St John Fisher Community College
“I realised that quieter members of the group can have great ideas.”

Student from Hutcheson’s Grammar School
“Definitely 11 out of 10. This opportunity is just phenomenal!”

Student from St Thomas Aquinas School
“This course has made a big difference to me. I discovered I am good at communicating, listening and lots of other things.”

Student from St Wulsten’s School
“The day was fun, interesting, and it helped me develop my skills in planning, teamwork and lateral and strategic thinking. I also found the props used impressive and professional.”

Student from Sevenoaks School

They say…

“Now I can definitely win arguments against my brother! It has opened my eyes to a whole new world of possible answers.”

Student from St Swithun’s School

“This was brilliant compared to all the other courses I’ve had in my 17 years. Truly inspirational, I have no higher praise.”

Student from Warlingham College

“It made me excited to challenge myself more. Very well managed and structured leading to a brilliant course.”

Student from Farmors School

“I was constantly motivated and recharged with varying discussions and tasks.”

Student from Gordons School

“Enriching, and I’m now more aware of the complexities of questions and the intellectual debate that could follow.”

Student from Eastbourne College

“I found this day exciting, exhilarating and full of new ideas and things for me to enjoy.”

Student from Merchant Taylors’ School

“The puzzles were thrilling to solve but also very clever and challenging.”

Student from Newbold Community School

“We got to do everything ourselves and think for ourselves without being spoonfed.”

Student from Sibford School

“I enjoyed getting up to lead. I really didn’t think I’d be able to do it but I felt really good when I did.”

Student from Pocklington School

“Amazing and a huge learning curve for me and the whole of my year group. It really developed my communicating skills.”

Students from Blackheath High School

“It was just fantastic. I loved it! The best bit was seeing everyone’s amazing designs.”

Student from Oakham School

“100% the best course I’ve ever been on. A great experience and I would love to do it again. Every activity was amazing.”

Student from John Fisher Community College

What makes
us different

Our tasks are 100% original, our leaders are experienced and our approach is dynamic.
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Build your
own day

We can run a selection of workshops in one day, with groups moving around in rotation.
Read more.

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