Who Stole the Cake – Full Unit


Forensic science mystery and skills lessons.

Kids Forensic science | Science Mystery | Crime Scene Investigation


A nefarious villain has stolen the cake from the Play Outside Forever group meeting. Who could have done this horrible deed?!

Crimes big and small happen every day (like stolen cake) but how do you solve them? Maybe you find some clues at the crime scene but then what? Two words: forensic science.

Forensic science is of course based on science, so let’s use a little of that chemical science to solve the mystery of Who Stole the Cake?

This full CSI project-based unit contains 3 mini-lessons on the important forensic science skills of chromatography, comparative analysis, and fingerprinting. Once the lessons are completed kids will have the skills to solve the mystery activity of who stole the cake and catch that despicable rouge! These hands-on lessons are perfect for middle school-aged kids.

This Unit Contains

– Color Climb chromatography lesson

– Powder Mystery comparative analysis lesson

– What’s in a Print? fingerprinting lesson

– Who Stole the Cake? forensic science mystery activity


Concepts & vocabulary

forensics, chromatography, polarity, comparative analysis, fingerprinting


marker samples

Color Climb chromatography lesson

The colors you see are not always what they appear!  Explore the technique of chromatography with markers and leaves.

In this lesson:

  • Practice chromatography
  • Play with some marker colors
  • See what colors are really going on INSIDE a leaf!

powder mystery

Powder Mystery comparative analysis lesson

Which powder is which?  Learn to identify an unknown sample by comparing it with other test samples (comparative analysis).

In this lesson:

  • Explore different properties of our sample powders
  • Practice a little lab safety
  • Record observations
  • Identify mystery powders by comparing them to what we already know!

What’s in a Print? fingerprinting lesson

This is the classic crime scene investigation method!

In this lesson:

  • Learn what makes up a fingerprint
  • Practice taking fingerprints
  • Compare fingerprints to known fingerprint features and other people’s prints

suspects forensic crime scene mystery

Who Stole the Cake? forensic mystery activity

Put you new forensic skills to the test by solving the crime of the missing cake.


  • 2 separate scenarios
  • suspect cards
  • investigation sheets to record all your crime scene notes


Take it Outside

Most of our games and lesson to be done outside but this unit CAN BE DONE IN THE CLASSROOM. But we suggest you take it outside if you can. It can easily be done in the schoolyard or the backyard.


What People are Saying about Who Stole the Cake?
“We had so much fun presenting and solving this mystery. The kids LOVED it!”

“I used this during summer school and it was a HUGE hit! Thank you!”



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