How I Use It
This product is a self-navigated problem solving game that asks students to solve pre-determined cases. Though it was difficult to get started, once my 7th graders navigated through the scenes a few times, it was easier to understand. I would most likely use this in the future to extend a lesson on problem solving, using clues, and following directions. This game requires that students read each piece carefully, manage multiple pieces simultaneously, and understand the language/vocabulary of each clue. My students have some language deficits, so it was a challenge for them to do this independently. It worked much better in a small group / large group. The processes a student must use follow the scientific method, so this might be better suited for a science class.
This game seems appropriate for higher grades (7-12), but the vocabulary seems to be geared for 10-12th graders. I was very impressed with the visuals, the speed of the game (one click updates a lot of really great pieces), the various forms of communication included (newspaper, cell phone, file, notes, etc).
Once my 7th grade students solved the first case (the mayor's missing dog), they were not necessarily interested in solving the other two. I would most likely use this activity for students who have finished their work and are waiting for their classmates to catch up. If I were to use it as a specific lesson, I might pre-teach the vocabulary (inaugural, prominent, delectable, steadfastly...), might discuss parts of a mystery or lab, and pre-teach the tools that a sleuth might need to crack this case.
Having an opening tutorial or clearer directions (such as an arrow or image that says "Go Here First") might also be advantageous. A "start here" or a mini-case to solve so that students are aware of the process the game takes might also be beneficial.