Forensic scientists combine a variety of skills and disciplines to analyze physical evidence. In this project, Forensic students learn how to use chemistry, physics and the known characteristics of common materials to analyze a crime scene. In addition, students will develop skills in documentation and presentation through the use of Computer Assisted Design (CAD) software.
Culminating Lesson: After students have completed all of the lessons in the project, they will combine and apply their new skills to solve a simulated crime through the analysis of physical evidence found at the scene.
Some of the skills students will explore in this project include:
>>Forensic Glass Analysis, Determining Direction of Force and Sequence of Shots: Students will learn to analyze of glass from a crime scene, providing factual evidence as to the direction of force fracturing the glass as well as sequence of shots.
>>How to Sketch a Crime Scene: Students learn how to diagram a crime scene so that each piece of evidence is located precisely.
>>Crime Scene Sketches to CAD: Using Computer Assisted Design software, students will take crime scene data and sketches and render a final scene diagram such as would be used in a courtroom presentation.
>>Trajectory: Lands, Grooves and Beyond: Students learn how a cartridge works and apply information about the firing sequence and projectile trajectories to solve a practical problem.
Skills students gain from project:
-Note taking during an interview or lecture.
-How to anticipate the location of evidence based on an analysis of the firing sequence.
-How physical changes in a projectile affect its trajectory.
-How to document and analyze evidence collected at a crime scene.
-How to formulate the results into an understandable report.
-Technical vocabulary related to investigations and forensic analysis.
-The practical application of Locard's Exchange Principle
-Experience in combining chemistry, physics, materials analysis and research to discern how an event transpired.
-How to use Computer Assisted Design software.
The skills taught in this project are also of great value (in demand) for professional tasks with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (tracking pandemics, identifying sources of transmitted diseases, poisons, etc.), Fish and Wildlife Service (tracking poachers, managing endangered species ), Weather Forecasting (analysis of wind/storm patterns, recognition of draught climates), Archeology (recreating past civilizations), Paleontology (identifying fossil remains), and so many more opportunities for applied sciences in a Forensics capacity.
In addition to the CTE/STEM focus of the unit/project lessons in PUBLIC SERVICES and ARTS, MEDIA & ENTERTAINMENT, educators will find academic lessons in CHEMISTRY and PHYSICS that supplement the primary core area of study.
This unit is brought to you by Jay Crawford (CTE), Dave Niemeyer (CTE), and Gordon Sanford (Science) with support from the CTE Online curriculum leadership team and detailed coordination provided by the Course Team Lead Gregg Witkin.