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This unit, "Using Detective Fiction to Reinforce Problem Solving Strategies and the Scientific Method," is meant to be used in a middle school science classroom. It is a unit designed for integration of the science and language arts curricula. The focus for this particular unit is a short story by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, but greater participation from the language arts teacher would allow the use of a full novel. The unit will focus primarily on observation and inference skills, the basic kinds of skills needed for critical thinking in science. Science should be taught as a process, not memorization of facts, and the use of detective fiction will help to accomplish that goal. The classroom activities include a series of activities to practice observation skills, to practice making inferences, and then to apply those skills to solve a short mystery story. The difference between inductive and deductive reasoning is discussed, especially the way Sherlock Holmes uses those skills for solving crimes.
(Recommended for General Science, grades 6-8.)
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