This article describes a sustained, student-driven, inquiry-based set of activities meant to illuminate the scientific process from the initial scientific questions to oral dissemination of results. It is appropriate for science majors and nonmajors, advanced high school through upper-level college courses. Involving students in hands-on, self-driven investigations will allow them to see the challenges of quantitative scientific investigations, and the role of scientific creativity in experimental design and interpretation. This project allows a large group of students to engage in the type of research project often only available to students working one-on-one with instructors or in research labs. This activity requires skeletons of multiple species of small mammals, but there are many ways to alter the project to suit available resources. We expect that students involved in hands-on, self-directed scientific investigations early in their academic careers are less likely to view science as a mere accumulation of facts and more likely to be empowered to participate later in more sustained scientific investigations.