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Who Killed. Lord Robert Lancaster?.

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Who Killed

Lord Robert Lancaster?

Lord Robert Lancaster’s body – with a long dagger protruding from the chest- lay sprawled in his library. A draft of Lord Robert’s new will, which would have disinherited his family and left his vast fortune to charity, was still on his desk. The will was not signed so his nieces and nephews would inherit his money and property. Who Killed Lord Lancaster?


case of the hooded murderer

Lord Peter and Lady Violet Lancaster


Lord Robert

Julian Lancaster

William Lancaster

Mark Manchester

Charles Lancaster

By George, I think they’ve solved it.

The Dickens you say!

csi cell scene investigators fact or fiction
CSI – Cell Scene Investigators: Fact or Fiction
  • Man is the highest of the animals; therefore, he has the most chromosomes.
  • An injury suffered in an accident will be passed on to one’s children.
  • If your parents both have brown eyes, you will certainly have brown eyes.
  • You have inherited traits from individuals who are not your parents such as your aunt or uncle.
  • Hereditary traits are carried from parent to child through the blood.

CSI – Cell Scene Investigators: Fact or Fiction

  • Each person inherits exactly half of his genetic makeup from each parent.
  • You inherit more from your mother if you are a girl.
  • A parent may give a trait to his child without ever having the trait himself.
  • If you resemble one parent more than the other, you probably inherited more from that parent.
  • You have all the hereditary traits you are ever going to have at birth.

Keeley, P., F. Eberle, and J. Tugel. 2007 Uncovering student ideas in science: 25 more formative assessment probes. Arlington, VA: NSTA press.

Life Science Assessment Probe

Baby Mice

Seif’s pet mouse had babies. Five of the babies were black and two were white. The father mouse was black. The mother mouse was white. Seif and his friends wondered why the mice were different colors. These were their ideas:

Jerome: Baby mice inherit more traits (genes) from their fathers than their mothers.

Alexa: The baby mice got half their traits (genes) from their father and half from their mother.

June: Male traits (genes) are stronger than female genes.

Seif: Black mice have more traits (genes) than white mice.

Fiona: The black baby mice are probably male and the white baby mice are probably male and the white baby mice are probably female.

Lydia: Parent’s traits (genes) like fur color don’t matter – nature decides what something will look like.

Billy: Blood type determines what traits (genes) babies will have.

Which friend do you most agree with and why? Explain your thinking.

the case of the hooded murderer
The Case of the Hooded Murderer

Narrator: The Lancasters were a large, wealthy British family. Lord Robert’s brothers and sisters had all died before him, and he never married. But he was scarcely alone. His twelve nieces and nephews had moved into the houses on the family estate. Lord Robert Lancaster’s body was discovered by his nephew- Julian, who was taken from the scene in handcuffs.

Court Records

Last Will and Testament


letter from julian lancaster
Letter from Julian Lancaster

Inspector Watson,

I am writing this letter in a most bereaved state of mind. I find myself in the most precarious position of having to defend my honor against the insidious accusation that I have taken the life of my most beloved uncle, Lord Robert Lancaster. ‘Tis true, he had no children of his own to leave his vast fortune to; however, the thought of murder never entered my mind. Uncle had shown me a copy of his will and I must say, I faired very well. I assure you, Good Sir, I am innocent. I beg thee; please assist our local police in apprehending the true culprit. My Penelope awaits me, for we are to be married once I receive my inheritance.


Julian Lancaster

P.S. I am not the only Lancaster with red hair!

the case of the hooded murderer1
The Case of the Hooded Murderer

Narrator: Inspector Watson received Julian’s letter and decided to do a background investigation. Inspector Watson had once planned to be a biologist; however, his passion for mystery won out. His special interest was genetics and heredity. He was particularly interested in the Lancaster murder because of certain patterns of inherited traits in the family. This is his response:

Court Records

Last Will and Testament


watson s reply
Watson’s Reply

Dear Julian,

I find your situation most intriguing; therefore,

Mr. Holmes and I shall arrive at the Lancaster

mansion by early morning to begin our official



Inspector Watson

engage your brain
What are your initial thoughts about this scenario?

List the facts that you have been given.

List the information you need to continue with hypotheses generation.

Engage Your Brain

The Search


Mr. Holmes and Watson arrived at the home of Lord Robert Lancaster early morning as promised. As Watson explained to Holmes, ”Old Lord Peter (Lord Robert’s father) is shown over the fireplace. As a young man, he had bright red hair. His wife Violet, was a brunette. Half their children, including the late Lord Robert, had red hair the others were brunettes. As only a recessive pair of genes (aa) will produce red hair, each of Lord Peter’s children received an (a) gene from him.”

Watson went on, We know Lady Violet had (A) genes because she was a brunette, and even one (A) gene will produce brown hair. But Lady Violet must have been heterozygous (Aa) because half her children had red hair.

explore this
Explore This:
  • What are recessive genes? What are dominant genes?
  • When representing genes, how are recessive genes differentiated from dominant genes?
  • Why are two letters used to represent a trait, i.e. (aa) for red hair?
  • What is the rule for expressing recessive genes?
  • Why is only one (A) gene necessary to produce brunette hair?
  • What does it mean for an individual to be heterozygous for a trait?
  • What does it mean for an individual to be homozygous for a trait?
  • How would you represent homozygous dominant genes?
  • How would you represent homozygous recessive genes?
  • How can you use this information to help you solve the murder?
  • Prepare a vocabulary foldable.
  • What other information do you need to proceed?

Our Story Continues…….

the maid s account of the mystery
The Maid’s Account of the Mystery

Narrator: In questioning the family servants, Inspector Watson found a witness to the murder, a maid who heard a groan from the library. Afraid to go in, she had peep through the keyhole and seen someone in a long hooded cape.

Do I dare tell

the truth?

“I couldn’t even tell whether it was a man or woman sir. But I did see a bit of red hair sticking out from under the hood. The person had a nervous habit of pulling on one earlobe, which I noticed was not an attached ear lobe.”


By George, we both have attached ears lobes!

“Aha” said Watson. “Earlobes, also, owe their attachments to one pair of genes. A person who is homozygous dominant (EE) or heterozygous (Ee) has free earlobes, and someone who is homozygous recessive (ee) has attached earlobes.”

the plot thickens
“The PLOT Thickens”

Narrator: The inspector began drawing up a chart of the Lancaster family, using portraits and family albums. Some information was not available, but he learned three important pieces of information. First, old Lord Peter Lancaster had free ear lobes. Second, Lady Violet had attached ear lobes. Third, some of their children had attached ear lobes.

By a strange coincidence, Lord Robert’s brothers and sisters had all married persons having attached ear lobes. Unfortunately, no pictures of the suspects were available, and Inspector Watson had not yet met them in person. The servants could not remember whether the suspects had free or attached earlobes, but of course they knew which had red hair and which were brunettes. Watson added that information to the chart.

Court Records

Last Will and Testament


explain your thoughts
Explain Your Thoughts!
  • How does this change your list of facts?
  • What hypotheses can you form now?
  • What information would you like to have now?
  • What type of chart could Inspector Watson have created to show family traits?
  • Analyze Watson’s chart and identify likely suspects.
elaborate on your logic who killed lord robert lancaster
You and your team represent Julian’s defense team.

Unfortunately, Inspector Watson has no Jurisdiction

in your district. You must take Inspector Watson’s

chart and prepare statistical data that proves Julian’s

innocence. In order for Julian to obtain his

inheritance and pay your fee, you must provide

statistical data that proves who murdered Lord

Lancaster. Finally, in your closing statement, you

must provide a plausible scenario that explains any

discrepancies between your suspect and the details

provided by the eyewitness.

Elaborate on your logic…Who Killed Lord Robert Lancaster?
the jury renders the verdict
The Jury Renders the Verdict…

We must correct this mistake…

heredity kwl
Heredity KWL

Prepare a KWL foldable indicating

what You know about genetics and

heredity and DNA. After the

opening activity complete what you

would like to know about heredity.

start your heredity foldable
Start your heredity foldable…

(Explore Activity)

Explore activity: Use the notes presented by Watson and the pedigree chart to answer the Explore questions.

Prepare a vocabulary foldable

Hands on: How do genes show in offspring?

Lab: Can Chromosomes be seen? (Remedial)

Lab: Do all corn seeds have genes for becoming green plants? (Grade level)

Lab: How do genes show in offspring of drosophila? (Extension)

Use pictures to represent the following heredity vocabulary:

Dominant gene, Recessive gene, Pure dominant, Pure recessive, genotype, phenotype, Punnett square, pedigree