Forensic science

Introduction to Forensic Science

Learn to analyze characteristics of human and animal hair, blood, and fingerprints.  How is a crime scene processed? Create a faux crime scene, collect evidence and present a closing argument.

Overview

  • Essential Question: How can forensic science aid in the investigation and litigation of crimes?
  • Area of study: Science
  • Type and amount of credit earned: 1 credit science elective
  • Community partner:  Student worked with two law enforcement agencies, spent time at a murder trial locally, and had a 2 hour visit/tour with the NH Medical Examiner in Concord.

Competencies

  • Student will understand current forensic techniques to analyze the characteristics of human and animal hair.
  • Student will understand current techniques to analyze the characteristics of human blood, and blood spatter analysis, as well as DNA.
  • Student will understand how to analyze fingerprints through a variety of techniques, including impressions, inking, ninhydrin and super glue fuming.
  • Student will identify types of physical evidence that could be found at a crime scene and analyze their relevance to a crime.
  • Student will understand how to process a crime scene, including collecting and packaging evidence.

See the detailed ELO description for the full text of these competencies.

Student activities

  1. Visit two police stations to learn about procedures for gathering evidence and fingerprinting
  2. Practice different methods of fingerprinting
  3. Visit NH State Medical Examiner’s office to learn how autopsies are conducted (via photos and reports)
  4. Attend a trial at local court
  5. Conduct research on differences between pet and human hair
  6. Research DNA structure – how and why is it used in some court cases?
  7. Experiment with DNA extraction
  8. Write testimonies for “witnesses” to a faux murder
  9. Create a fake murder scene and take pictures to use as evidence in final presentation
  10. Write a “closing argument” for the faux murder trial and present to a “jury” of family and peers
  11. Read samples of police reports and write report for the faux murder
  12. Final project – give a “closing argument” for faux murder case, rehashing, displaying and explaining evidence

Assessment

Student is assessed on the competencies through small research based projects, a DNA lab, and a lab examining human and animal hairs under a microscope. The final presentation is to give a “closing argument” and explain multiple types of evidence.

More information

I wish this student could have had more time and an ongoing internship or volunteer opportunity with a local police department. I feel that she could have gotten into more depth about the minutia of investigating and gathering evidence if she had had that opportunity.

Detailed ELO description and links to resources

This ELO was submitted by Terrill Covey, Extended Learning Opportunity Facilitator, Strafford Learning Center.  Email teacher for more information

Return to ELO Examples