Suggested course level
Upper level undergraduate
- Students will understand deductive reasoning and how to build a syllogism.
- Students will use this to analyze their research data to come up with recommendations for a recommendation report.
- Murder mystery game. There are lots of free 30-minute murder mystery games online. Though the price has gone up dramatically since I bought the game, I used the website Playing With Murder to buy a murder mystery tailored to classroom use. You can also find these very cheaply at thrift stores.
- I also bring a small prize for each of the “actors” and sometimes given a CMNS 3000 Academy Award to the student who gets into their role the most (the class decides).
- Print off the murder mystery game.
- Begin the lesson by discussing inductive and deductive reasoning, and identifying when you would use each type.
- Ask for volunteers to play the different roles in the murder mystery. The one that I use is played in 3 short rounds. I encourage students to get into the roles by giving a CMNS 3000 Academy Award to the actor who gave their all to the role (students vote).
- Sit students in a circle and ask them to take notes on what the characters reveal.
- Explain the rules of the murder mystery. Audience members can ask questions after each round.
- At the end of the activity, ask students to write a deductive reasoning syllogism identifying the murderer. For example, a student might write “If the murderer had a key to the house and only family members had house keys and Bob is the only family member without an alibi, then Bob is the murderer.”
- Students can hand in their proof for participation marks. Stress that it’s not just about identifying the murderer, but laying out the syllogism.
- After the game is over, ask students to create a syllogism using their research data.
Debrief questions / activities
- How did the syllogism help you solve the murder?
- What was the hardest part of the activity?
- How did the syllogism help you test your theory?
- How can you use a syllogism in analyzing your research?
Tags: research and documentation, analysis, hands-on, whole class, game, deductive reasoning, logic, syllogism, ice breaker