The case of the stolen trophy, part 2

Part one here, related posts here. Click on images to see the larger versions on Flickr.

The cryptic sign spotted in the newsagents near to school

The cryptic sign spotted in the newsagents near to school

The sign points to a video and the sums reveal a password

The sign points to a video and the sums reveal a password

Have you got what it takes? from sneakysneak on Vimeo.

Writing individual stories

Writing individual stories

Working as a team to gather ideas for the stories

Working as a team to gather ideas for the stories

The stories are good enough! We get a list of more video links…

A message for Team Alpha from sneakysneak on Vimeo.

The videos are of clues in Morse code

The videos are of clues in Morse code

Hunting for the hidden clues

Hunting for the hidden clues

A clue is found taped under the top of the railing in the walkway

A clue is found taped under the top of the railing in the walkway

The clues fit together to form a map of the school and field

The clues fit together to form a map of the school and field

We eliminate all but two of the crosses on the map, then go onto the field to investigate

We eliminate all but two of the crosses on the map, then go onto the field to investigate

Not this one: the map said to try the larger of the two options

Not this one: the map said to try the larger of the two options

The Missing Trophy Mission, Day 3

The Missing Trophy Mission, Day 3

The Missing Trophy Mission, Day 3

The Missing Trophy Mission, Day 3

The Missing Trophy Mission, Day 3

The Missing Trophy Mission, Day 3

The Missing Trophy Mission, Day 3

The Missing Trophy Mission, Day 3

The case of the stolen trophy, part one

Having previously been trained up as special agents, it was only a matter of time before the Year 3 and 4 pupils at Bredon Hancock’s school received their first mission.

Yesterday morning, whist reading through their weekly newsletter – the Bredon Bugle – the agents noticed a strange article which they recognised as being in some sort of code.

Coded message in the Bredon Bugle

Coded message in the Bredon Bugle

They phoned me and by the time I had rushed out of my office in iGenCa HQ and driven over to join them, they had donned their special agent ID badges, got out their investigation packs, started work with their code wheels and begun to decode the message. After a little bit of work, this is what we found it said:

To the bird of the night,
and another brightest blue.
I have taken something
That belongs to you.

Have you got what it takes,
To unravel the mystery?
You’ll need teamwork and brains,
Or your item is history.

Your entry point,
is where it begins.
Your imagination and mine:
Let’s see who wins…

It didn’t take us long to figure out that “bird of the night, and another brightest blue” was a reference to the agents in their normal pupil roles as Owls and Kingfishers, but what did the rest of the message mean?

I called a team to help me work through the rest of the verses and someone suggested that ‘entry point’ could mean the main entrance to the school. Another agent had spotted some new state-of-the-art security cameras had been installed in that area, so we went out to have a look.

state-of-the-art security camera

We located two of these cameras and decided we would have a look at the files on them to see if they had caught anything useful on tape.

They had!

The first one we watched showed us a person (that we recognised from previously intercepted footage) breaking into the school and then leaving again having wrapped something up and put it in her rucksack. She had some sort of device that zapped the camera though, so we couldn’t see everything.

When we looked at the footage from the other camera (that the intruder hadn’t spotted or zapped) it helped answer some of our questions: she had taken the sports trophy!

Here’s the combined footage from both cameras that shows what happened:

CCTV footage of the intruder from nikkipugh on Vimeo.

Now the coded message from the Bugle made a lot more sense! We also knew we had to get permission to launch a full-blown mission, so our next task was to summarise what had happened in a report to Agent A to explain why it was important for us to investigate this.

Mission initiation report. What do we need to put in it?

Mission initiation report. What do we need to put in it?

One of the special agents sets out what had happened that morning

One of the special agents sets out what had happened that morning

We sent the reports off, but then realised we had to act fast if we were to be able to interview someone who was likely to provide some key evidence in our investigation: Mrs Greenwood the cleaner went home after lunch so we had to speak to her fast!

Listen!

paper

Here’s what was written on the paper:

  • Research challengers
  • Are they are good enough?
  • Think of a way to test them
  • Be sneaky
  • See what they do and who they tell?
  • Are they a good team?
  • Wait for contact
  • ???

What were we to make of that?

While we were thinking, a message came back from Agent A giving us permission to go ahead with the mission. We used the school’s recording devices to interview the head mistress (who had information about the security cameras) and the secretary (who had information about what state her office was in when she arrived at work that morning).

From what the cleaner and the secretary had told us, we decided to see if we could lift any fingerprints from the scene of the crime. First we practised getting prints from our own fingers and then a few of us went to look in the foyer to see if we could get any off the remaining trophies, the door or the reception hatch.

Examining the fingerprints on the large trophy

Examining the fingerprints on the large trophy

Unfortunately we were unable to lift any of these prints, but we had a really close look and decided that the ones on the door and the hatch were probably the same.

From the to-do list that the intruder dropped, we knew she was watching us to see who we would tell about what had happened.

I was unable to join the special agents today, but I believe they were compiling a special edition of the Bredon Bugle to tell EVERYONE.

Special agent training camp: debrief interviews

Another post relating to Phase 1 of delivery of an Agent N project designed to inspire creative writing and foster curiosity amongst a group of Y3 and Y4 pupils.

Whilst the pupils were winding up the training camp with a piece of reflexive writing, I took the opportunity to take a couple of them outside for a bit of feedback on the goings-on of the previous two days.

Rather than shoving a microphone in their face, I used some binaural microphones that look like earphones and just wore them around my neck. I’m repeating most things they say because I wasn’t sure if the mic was picking them up or not!

Here are the results:

Listen!

Listen!

Special agent training camp: video reports

Last week I spent the first 2 of what will be approximately 6 days working with the Year 3 and 4 classes at Bredon Hancock’s Endowed First School in rural Worcestershire.

My brief was initially to “inspire their children and staff to write with imagination, creativity, enthusiasm and confidence”, but this has since (I think in part as a result of conversations at my interview, which I did in role as Agent N) been expanded out to also try and foster a spirit of creativity, experimentation and enquiring minds in a more general sense. Staff and pupils.

I’ve worked on several Agent N projects up until now: immersive experiences taking place over 3-5 days in which the pupils have an overarching challenge to work on and, as a part of this, investigate different areas of the curriculum. Whilst I’ve had enormously positive feedback on the effects of these, I think there’s still plenty of scope for improvement, so with this project I have changed the structure to explore ways in which to hand some of the authorship back to the children. This has resulted in the delivery being split up into sections. Last week was the first of those sections: a 2-day special agent training camp.

Relinquishing some of the design decisions started well in advance of the delivery time in school when I recruited a friend – 8-year-old Agent M – to help me prepare a video for the trainees to respond to.

The message from Agent A requesting that we look at the top secret footage

The message from Agent A requesting that we look at the top secret footage

I wanted a video of an operative in action. The action involved had to be exciting and intriguing, but not so prescribed that the the pupils in school couldn’t come up with a large range of different interpretations. I had a few locations in mind, but the filming was done as part of a weekend away with friends, so even those decisions had to be flexible.

Here’s the result after some basic prompts for Agent M to run with plus a bit of video editing:

operative from nikkipugh on Vimeo.

I’ve never seen 40 children sat with such rapt attention before!

We played the video a few more times, pausing in places to give the trainee agents a chance to write down any important details or questions in their special agent notepads.

After a bit of discussion to get a general idea of what they thought was going on, the children were asked to write up their reports for Agent A.

A trainee agent prepares their report...

A trainee agent prepares their report...

Here are a few excerpts (spellings etc corrected):

In the film there was a girl disguised as a young child. At the start the girl was at an airport. At a machine she got some tickets. The code was AQZP. After she caught a plane and got dropped off at a wood. Why did she feel the tree?

The lady typed in AQZP. She walked up to a plane netting and stopped. The man walked to the plane. The lady ran to a tree and found a bag with a book in it. It might have been a clue. She ran to a farm track and stopped and ran a bit more and stopped again then suddenly pointed at a farm house. She ran down to a beach and crouched down to touch the sand. She was concentrating on the texture of the sand. Then she ran to a castle on a hill. I think she might be an agent on a mission.

She was wearing black and she looked like she was on a top secret mission. She typed into the computer AQZP which looked like a code. She thought carefully about what she was doing as if the time was running out. She recorded stuff in her notepad. She thought carefully about stuff she found and used it to help her. She looked around carefully in case anyone watched. She looks as if the time was running out and she had to go with the flow. She was just guessing and running. She wrote something into the sand. She felt the tree as if the tree had put it there.

Agent Harry's report on the video

Agent Harry's report on the video

On the DVD I think that there was a girl in an airport and she went there. A cash machine or ticket machine and then she looked at the plane and went to a woodland when a plane went overhead. I don’t think she wanted to be seen because she was sneaking. She picked up a bag and ran to the beach and made a sign in the sand. It was something like this [picture of an arrow]. She was disguised as an old gran. She had glasses like this [picture of glasses].

Agent Jemma's report

Agent Jemma's report

I think that the code at the beginning was that she was ordering some clues to find where she needs to go next. Next thing she was taking facts about the airport. Trying to get the right plane. Missed the plane. I think that she was undercover because she has glasses and a hoody.

I saw some dead drops that the agent was finding. It was an agent on a mission I think or she was finding information. An agent was on a computer on Flybe. In the corner of the screen I saw a word that was WHSmiths. The agent at the end was a bad agent finding clues about the good agent. I can’t work out why the agent at the end was feeling a tree and feeling the sand. The agent was writing the code AQZP to get permission.

The report from Agent Cara

The report from Agent Cara

Ideas from these reports and from other pieces of writing generated over the training camp will be used in the next phase of delivery…

Maths, but not as we know it…

I was shocked when this lady ran into the room & said COME INTO THE HALL NOW- THIS IS TOP SECRET. We suddenly found out that our teachers were all agents named Agent squirrel, Agent pants, Agent ants & Agent elliephants. I enjoyed learning this misson it was interesting to see all our teachers undercover. I learnt how to break codes in the afternoon & we got two clues that tell us what is the answer to this mission & it carries on going and going until we find the last clue. I am excited but i am little bit nervous because we only have 3 days.

Agent CB

In the morning when Miss Yates had just taken the register agent N came in and she said EMERGENCY!!! COME TO THE HALL QUICK I was really excited but when we were walking in the corridors we had to make sure that we were undercover so we had to act normal and when we had got to the hall agent N told us that we were on a mission to find some clues to solve the mission.Then we had to go back to are classrooms and we had to solve some clues and we got some clues just in the time of 15 minutes and the first clue was , near a mans whos’s insides you could clearly see and we had to find a map and each class had part of the map and if we put it together it would make the whole map. Today I have learned that if we all work together as a team the mission would be done quicker because we only have 2 days left.

Agent AW

I have realy enjoyed day 1 of (Sssshhhhhh) code breaking I can not I repeat (can not) wait until tomorrow.
And I cant wait to see the map again because it realy I repeat (realy) looks like fun also I thought what we might have to do with the map cause it looks allot like a treasure map.So we might have to find another clue or something.

cant wait for tomorrow
see you, yours greatfully
L (byeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee)

Agent LJ

(All these examples were added to a forum on the school’s Virtual Learning Environment after school had finished.)



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