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Calling the Crime Squad

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

The Year 7 girls answered the call to become Bolton School’s Crime Squad for a day! They spent the day off their normal timetable and enjoyed a variety of enrichment activities designed to develop their active learning, problem solving, collaboration and leadership skills.

The whole day was themed around the idea of a Crime Squad, with even the team names inspired by real-life crime-fighters such as CSI, MI5 Intelligence and Detectives. The girls were split into teams of eight, with three teams at a time taking part in each of the four activities.

‘Cops and Robbers’ required the girls to think strategically and manage their time to optimum effect. Two teams were named as rival gangs of robbers while the third took on the role of the cops. They were then given the rules and a strict schedule of times, including when and how the cops could make arrests and when the robbers could return with their loot. The robbers were then sent out to collect as much hidden ‘loot’ as possible in the short space of time, while the cops were responsible for catching them, making an arrest, and throwing them in jail!

This really energetic task got the girls really excited and they worked hard to plan and execute their strategies for the game.

The ‘Bomb Disposal’ activity was another favourite among the participants. Outside on the netball courts, the girls had to crack codes and crosswords in order to diffuse a bomb. However, on top of the intellectual problems, there was the issue of getting to the bomb itself: it had been cordoned off inside a large square which the girls were not allowed to enter! They had to extract the bomb and several clues or useful objects from inside the square using just a length of rope and their own ingenuity. This was definitely one of the most challenging exercises of the day but the girls responded admirably, splitting their team into a set of code-breakers and another group to acquire the items inside the square, and working together to overcome both parts of the mission.

In ‘Gorilla Kidnap’ the girls were given the difficult task of following clues to find out who kidnapped Alfie the baby gorilla! Taking on the role of Tameside Police, the girls were given a map of the area and the very basic information collected at the crime scene, and had to decide how to progress the investigation. This involved following leads, choosing which suspects to interview, looking at evidence and linking together the clues to build up an accurate picture of what happened. The task required the girls to think logically, discuss their reasoning and work together to build a case.

The teams competed to see who could locate the missing gorilla in the shortest amount of time, and had to assemble a number of pieces of evidence before they could make an arrest and bring the gorilla home – no easy task when there were several strong leads!

The final task was a ‘Murder Mystery’ game, for which the girls were divided into groups of three or four to work out who was guilty. The girls had to use logical reasoning and discuss their ideas with one another before creating a visual guide to their three primary suspects, which they then presented to the whole group. They had to argue their case and try to convince the others that they were correct in identifying the murderer.

At the end of the afternoon, the girls reassembled in the Arts Centre for the ‘Final Battle’ – one last tie-breaker task in which they were asked to create a poser based on their experience of the day. The girls had to draw themselves completing one of the tasks, and use symbols to indicate the skills they required, such as teamwork.

Finally, all of the points gained in each of the activities were totalled and the top three teams were announced, with the winners receiving a small prize to share.

The Crime Squad Day was run by Wiser Words, a company providing enrichment days and masterclasses to inspire young people to think independently, express their ideas, and be curious about the world around the. This is the third year the event has run.

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Checking the map to follow clues in Gorilla Kidnap

Checking the map to follow clues in Gorilla Kidnap

Teamwork in Bomb Disposal

Teamwork in Bomb Disposal

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"You're nicked!" Two cops arrest a robber and escort her to jail