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 little happen every day (like stolen cakes). But how do you solve them? Maybe you find some clues but what then? Science to the rescue!!!

Forensic science is of course based on… you guessed it SCIENCE. So lets use a little of that chemical science to solve today’s mystery of Who Stole the Cake?

This full project-based unit contains 3 mini-lessons on the important forensic science skills of chromatography, comparative analysis, and fingerprinting.  Then use those skills to solve the mystery activity of who stole the cake and catch that despicable rouge!

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 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

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


Concepts & vocabulary

forensics, chromatography, polarity, comparative analysis, fingerprinting


Take it Outside

We design all 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.


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

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


steam outside homeschool program

Or find this and more included in our STEAM Outside homeschool program.



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