Level: minimum intermediate no maximum


Question and answer grammar, generation of and attention to specific details

Background information for students:

What is an alibi?

It is a story. It protects criminal suspects.

Investigators ask suspects about a crime: "Where were you?" "What were you doing?" "Who were you with?"

The alibi includes a place away from the scene of the crime. It includes other people. It includes details about activities.

Investigators examine the alibis of suspects separately.

Investigators try to catch alibi variations.

Alibi variations are proof of suspects' lies.

Faulty alibis increase suspicion.


Given: A heinous murder was committed the previous night. The authorities have narrowed down the suspects to three individuals. These individuals have an alibi. According to them, they were together and away from the crime scene during the entire time frame of the crime. Eye witnesses near the scene claim to have seen the three suspects in the vicinity when the crime allegedly occurred.

Object: Suspects attempt to hold their alibi story together, never straying from it, while their stories are being examined by investigators. Investigators attempt to catch the suspects straying from their stories with evidence of conflicting details.

Preparation: Form groups of three or four members.

  1. Select one member from each preparation group. Form the suspect group from this selection and isolate it from the class for ten minutes. The students in this group are the suspects. They must meet together to discuss the alibi they will use when each of their stories will be examined by investigators.
  2. Assign the remaining groups with the role of investigators. While the suspect group is working on their alibi, the investigator groups formulate their questions. The more specific the questions, the easier to catch suspects straying from their alibi.
  3. Bring the suspects back and have each sit with a different group of investigators. Rotate suspects with investigators after five minutes. Investigators may choose to lie about other suspect stories. Investigators may choose to intimidate suspects.
  4. All investigators face front, and the suspects sit up front facing the investigators. Investigators each take a turn commenting on alibi details that did not corroborate.
  5. This game can be repeated with new suspects and new investigators, ad infinitum.