Mystery Marauders

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In this outdoor, mystery-solving activity, learners work like detectives, gathering evidence to identify the culprits that are attacking plants. Learners come to understand the impact of insect pests on plant life—including the fact that crop losses due to insect damage cost billions of dollars. The activity calls for learners to read Action Assignment Cards, but with an adult reading the cards, or with modified, simpler cards, this activity can be adapted for younger learners.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
1 to 2 hours

Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$5 - $10 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Action Assignment Cards (in PDF)
  • medium-size plastic bags
  • rubber bands
  • hand lens or bug boxes
  • sweepnets or Shake-It containers
  • sheet of Action Assignment Cards (in PDF)
  • extra rubber bands
  • Sweepnet or Shake-It container Equipment Card (in PDF)


  • Life Sciences
    • Diversity of Life
      • Plants
      • Animals
    • Ecology
      • Ecosystems
      • Populations
      • Biodiversity
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Asking Questions
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data
      • Formulating Explanations
      • Communicating Results

Informal Categories

  • Animals
  • Crime Science
  • Gardening
  • Nature and Environment
  • Outdoor Activity
  • Physical Activity


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • be mobile
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Uses STEM to solve real-world problems
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



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