Hello inspector! First of all, you should choose one or two friends who will work with you.

You’re about to investigate a murder case. At the end of your inquiry, you’ll have to write a report. You can read what is expected from you in the article “the evaluation” (look at the column on the left).

Throughout your enquiry, you will learn more about London, and its history. You will read and listen to different documents to help you in your work. Each time, you will have to make an exercice to check if you understood and remembered the information. And sometimes, if you answer properly, you’ll get a clue to find the indentity of the murderer!

Good luck!


Step 1

Now that you are a policeman, you have to know some vocabulary about your job! You should remember it, you may find these words again during your investigation!

investigator: détective

murder: meurtre

kill: tuer

culprit: coupable

clue: indice

evidence: preuve

custody: garde à vue

witness: témoin

to stab: poignarder

red herring: fausse piste

to question: interroger

corpse: cadavre

to release: relâcher

bloody: couvert de sang

detention: détention criminelle

mutilated: mutilé

flesh: chair

gashed: entaillé

inquiry: enquête

elude: échapper à

brawl: bagarre


bloodshed: effusion de sang

wound: blessure

slum: quartier pauvre

to slay: tuer

You should do this exercise to check you knowledge on this vocabulary: Crosswords

Step 2

Now, you know where you are going to work: Whitechapel! This is a very poor area in London. You should probably learn some information about this place. You should read that internet page on Whitechapel: click here

You should also make research on the Historical context of this investigation, watching a video on Whitechapel in 1888: click here

You may find these documents difficult to understand. You can use that vocabulary list to help you :

it seems like ages away: cela semble une éternité

known for : connu pour

artsy-fartsy: (langage familier) qui fait des choses étranges tout en prônant que c’est de l’art

slum: quartier pauvre, taudis

dire poverty: pauvreté extrême

You can use that dictionary if you need more help: Dictionary

If you’re sure you’ve understood everything, you should do this exercice. For each right answer, you will get a letter from the name of the victim whose murder you’re about to investigate! And with the last questions, you will get the letters to form the name of the place where the body was found!

Step 3

Now, you know who the victim is and where her body has been found. You go to the crime scene to start your investigation. The other policemen who were there before give you a first report of the murder: text on Mary Kelly . Since you’re not a native English speaker, you can use a dictionary to understand this report: Dictionary

One of your collegue also explains orally the situation to you: video on Mary Kelly He agrees to help you with the vocabulary:

relief : soulagement

nightmare: cauchemar

landlord : propriétaire

sight : spectacle



Then, you look everywhere in Mary’s room. The culprit doesn’t seem to have left anything behind him… But, wait! What’s that object next to Mary Kelly’s bed? It is a quill which are used to write! We ask her fiancé if this object belongs to the victim. He says it is very unlikely to belong to her because she couldn’t write. It must belong to the killer then! The murderer must be someone who can read and write.

Now, the chief inspector asks you to tell him what you’ve learnt on the crime scene, he knows some information, you just have to fill the gaps: exercice

Step 4

After seeing the murder and compared it with all the other murders which happened recently, you can see this murder looks exactly like some earlier murders. It means that they have been committed by the same serial killer, known as “Jack the Ripper”. You ask one of your collegue to explain to you what information they have on Jack the Ripper, and he tells you this:

video on jack

Once again, you have a vocabulary list to help you:

to lurk: rôder

shadow: ombre

 notorious: connu

to slay: tuer

to print: imprimer

 kidney: rein

 medical knowledge: connaissance en médecine

rough: approximatif

 to be involved: être impliqué

Then, you ask the chief inspector to examine the clues the other policemen have found. You’re a new policeman so you have to prove that you are a good investigator! You have to take an examination in order to have the clues. You will read sentences written in English. Your task is to say if they’re grammatically correct (then you choose the answer “true”) or if they’re not grammatically correct (you choose the answer “false”). For each right answer, you will get a letter, and if you get all the letters, you’ll be able to write three words, which are the three clues.

You’re ready? Let’s go! –> grammar exercice

Step 5

Since the murder you’re investigating isn’t the first which is thought to have been committed by Jack the Ripper, the other policemen have already written a list of the possible suspects, explaining why they may be the culprit. Some other policemen wrote comments about those theories. You can find this list here:

list suspects

Once again, you can use the dictionnary if you have any difficulty: Dictionary

A policeman comes towards you, because he found a final clue: some herbal tea, which is said to have curative properties. This was also found in Mary Kelly’s room. What does it mean? Does this match with any of the suspects? Now, it’s your time to write your own theory! Read the article “The Evaluation” to know what you have to do in order to make a perfect report. Good luck!

The evaluation


the report (13 points out of 20):

-explain the situation of the time

-explain what the victim was doing slightly before Jack the ripper met her

-explain how Jack met her and then how he killed her

-say who Jack is (use the clues)

-explain why he killed her

-explain what he did to avoid being seen

criteria for the evaluation:

-use of the information found in the different websites and videos (2 points)

-use of the vocabulary you’ve learned through the webquest (1 point)

-the clues are used for the argumentation (2 points)

-correct grammar (3 points)

-use of linking words (1 point)

-originality  (1 point)

-varied vocabulary (2 point)

-all the elements asked in the report (see “the report” above) are dealt with. (1 point)

Oral presentation (5 points out of 20)

-sum up your theory (avoid reading your paper)

-answer some questions from the other students on your theory

criteria for the evaluation:

-everybody speaks in the group (and approximately : same amount of time) (1 point)

-ask questions about the other students’ theories (1 bonus point if ask questions)

-way of speaking: loud enough (1 point) , doesn’t only read the paper, also looks at the other students (1 point), accent (1 point), understandable (1 point)

Debate in class (2 points out of 20)

-say what may be wrong with other students’ theories

-say why your story is more likely to be true

criteria for the evaluation:

-takes part in the debate (2 points)


Since speaking spontaneously is more difficult, the grammar isn’t taken into account in the debate, it’s just the participation which matters.

Since the grammar and the vocabulary are already included in the evaluation of the report, they won’t be important in the evaluation of the oral presentation.

Teacher’s page

This webquest was created by Morgane Jourdain, as a project for a class called “Language, Learning and the Internet”.

In this webquest, the students will have to do some exercises linked with the case of Jack the Ripper. They will have to read some texts and watch some videos about the historical context or the case itself. This quest will lead to the writing of a report, explaining who the culprit might be. The students will then explain their theory in front of their classmates. The students will then have to say why their theories is better their mates’ during a debate.


This webquest has been created for eleventh grade students who are learning English, from any field (literature, economics, vocational classes and so on and so forth). However, the quality of the grammar and the variety of the vocabulary expected for the report will not be the same.


Each group of two or three students will need a computer  with which they can go on the internet


Groups of two or three students must be created. Then, each group will have a computer, and they will follow the instructions they’ll find in the blog. The work is autonomous, but the teacher may answer some questions if the students really don’t understand a resource or what is expected from them. This webquest should last four hours, 1h30 or 2h for the different steps in this blog, 1h to write the report (if the students don’t have enough time to finish the report in one hour, they may finish their work at home), 1h for the oral presentation in class and 30min for the debate. If the students are very numerous, the oral presentation and the debate may last longer.


With this webquest, we can make the students work on all the different competences : writing with the report, reading and listening with the resources, and speaking with the oral presentation and the debate. The precise goals of that webquest are:

-teach the students some vocabulary on a precise subject: the criminal investigation

-improve the students’ creative skills by writing in English

-make the students speak in English, with a prepared speech for the oral presentation and a spontaneous participation by taking part in the debate. Not taking the quality of the grammar and the vocabulary into account in the debate will help the students be more relaxed, they will be less afraid of making mistakes. Thus, it will encourage them to speak spontaneously, which is the best way to make them improve their English skills.

-check the grammar knowledge of the students with the step 4 and the report

-check the reading and listening abilities of the students, by seeing if they used the information of the resources in their report