Teaching Warrants with a Murder Mystery

Teach English Writing and Arguments

Teaching ESL students how to write logical arguments  supported by warrants is a slow but worthwhile exercise. Once ESL students learn how to write these arguments, their text becomes clear and persuasive.

This mini lesson writing lesson incorporates several skills into one activity. The lesson centres on a murder scene.

Lesson Flow

Step 1. Introduce the Murder Scene

Winston Peacock was found dead by the police on January 2. The police want to know if he was murdered or it was suicide.

Winston Peacock lived alone. He lived in a house on the side of a hill. There were only two ways to get into his house: the front door and one side window. Many people in the town thought he was a rich man who had a lot of money in his house.

Jenny was a 15 year old newspaper girl. Every morning she rode her bike and delivered a newspaper to Winston’s house. Every morning Winston would open unlock his door and get the newspaper and wave to Jenny. Jenny said hi. She could hear Winston lock the door.

On January 1 she did not see Winston. There were some milk bottles in front of the door. The next day, she did not see him again. She was worried and went to the window and looked inside. She saw the dead body on the floor. She saw that the lights were not on inside the house. She went to the police station and told the police what she had found.

The police came to the house. The door was locked so they smashed the window and went inside.

The police are not sure what happened. Was it suicide or murder?

Step 2. Look at the Evidence

Your job is to answer the question. was it murder or suicide?

  • Look at the picture.
  • Collect evidence.
  • Make a warrant for each piece of evidence.

After you have collected some evidence and warrants, make a decision. Was it murder or suicide?

Step 3. Write a Report

Write a report. Start with the question. List your evidence and supporting warrants. The last paragraph should be your conclusion.




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