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Wink Murder

In this game, students may use their observation skills to track down a clever imaginary killer. 

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s legendary fictional detective, Sherlock Holmes, applied many of the principles of modern forensic science long before they were adopted by the police. Holmes was a keen observer and was able to draw conclusions from his observations. His exceptional powers of observation, coupled with deductive reasoning, confounded those with lesser powers, including the local constabulary (police or RCMP). Modern-day detectives and forensic scientists must also be curious and keen observers in order to solve crimes.


  • Carefully observe actions to infer a suspect.

Key Questions

  • Why do forensic scientists need to be keen observers?
  • What kinds of observations did you make to help you make an accusation?

What To Do

  1. Students either sit or stand in a circle, and close their eyes or cover them with their hands. The teacher walks around the back of the circle and taps one student on the back, secretly letting them know they are the “murderer.” Once the murderer is selected, the rest of the participants open their eyes.
  2. The murderer “kills” other players by making eye contact and winking at them. Other players however, are forbidden from winking.
  3. Players observe the group carefully, looking for the murderer while also avoiding his/her gaze. If a player is winked at, they must feign sudden death and are removed from the game (by sitting back one pace or moving to a pre-determined area.)
  4. Players can volunteer to identify the murderer; however, if they are wrong, they die and are out of the game.
  5. The game ends when someone accurately identifies the murderer, but multiple rounds (with each round having a different murderer) are encouraged.

Another player, unaware of the murderer’s identity, is assigned the role of detective. The other players sit in a circle around the detective, whose objective is to correctly identify and accuse the murderer to minimize the number of murder victims. A limit is often imposed upon the number of accusations the detective can make.