The Mystery of Sam Smiley

Becoming a Detective

A body, identified as Sam Smiley, has just been found under suspicious circumstances. Your task is to unravel the mystery of Sam Smileyís demise.  Just like any good crime scene investigator (but was it a crime?) you are to sift through the available evidence in order to ascertain [find out] how and why Sam slipped his mortal coil (died).  Specifically, you are to use all the available evidence to create:

  1. a timeline, to trace the events of Samís final day
  2. build a personality profile of Sam
  3. generate a hypothesis/final report of Samís demise



Investigating the Evidence

  • Witness Statements (Here you will view statements from the various witnesses. These people have information about what kind of person Sam was, what he was doing in his final hours, and what was going on at the scene around the time of his demise.)


Searching for Clues

Different historians use various tools to collect and organize the evidence they find so that it will be easier for them to formulate an argument later on. Some historians use note cards to jot down aspects of evidence that they have just seen. Later they return to these note cards to help them support their arguments.

We have provided you with three activities to help you organize the evidence you have collected about Sam Smiley. By using these tools you should be able to formulate your argument more easily and crack the case.

A. Sources (Word Format | PDF Format)

It is important that you understand what information the witnesses have presented in order to understand who Sam Smiley was and what happened to him. The Sources sheet allows you to examine the witness testimony and determine how and if what each witness has said is useful. It also forces you to look deeply at how and why you think a particular testimony is useful. In re-examining the testimony of a witness you might discover he/she is not as useful or more useful than you originally believed.

B. Timeline (Word Format | PDF Format)

The Timeline will help you see exactly how events happened on September 3-4. You should remember a few things about constructing a good timeline. Your timeline should be made to some type of scale and the order of events should be clearly written out.

C. Profile Sheet (Word Format | PDF Format)

The profile sheet will allow you to compose your initial impressions of Sam. Once you get these impressions and observations down on paper you will be able to begin organizing them to form a cogent argument.



Cracking the Case

D. Hypothesis Sheet (Word Format | PDF Format)

Now that you have reviewed your sources, created a timeline, and compiled a profile of Sam you can use the Hypothesis Sheet to begin building an argument about who Sam was and how he met his end. By engaging in the preceding activities, it should be easier to begin to form your argument on the hypothesis sheet.