Who's Getting Away? Finding a Pattern using Forensics STEM Integrated Project
While watching an episode of a CSI type show or reading a crime novel, one can't help but wonder if the "science" being used is, well, truly scientific!
While we can't vouch for the methods of TV crime fighters, the fact remains that the knowledge and use of scientific methods are critical to solving crime.
In this STEM Integrated project "Who's Getting Away? Finding a Pattern using Forensics," students will investigate a hit and run accident and explore the scientific principles behind the forensic techniques that are used to solve a crime. When the students reach the culminating lesson, they will be challenged with assembling all of the evidence that they have gleaned alone the way so that an overall pattern of criminal activity can be demonstrated and the suspect identified.
There are three contributors to this project: Gordon Sanford, Kenn Lewis and Jay Crawford. Each has an established path of lesson plans that lead to the culminating CTE lesson. The CTE series of lessons can be identified by the square icons. The other two paths are comprised of lessons that explain the scientific principles behind the forensic techniques that are used in crime scenes. When the students reach the culminating lesson they will be challenged with assembling all of the evidence that they have gleaned alone the way so that an overall pattern of criminal activity can be demonstrated and the suspect identified.
CTE Public Service Lessons:
Investigating a hit and run accident, investigators develop a description of the suspect of the suspect based on physical evidence. The next lesson starts with the students following up on a hit and run case and discover a homicide. Using principles from Newton's Law of Cooling determines some of the factors in the case. In the third installment, additional information gleaned from an analysis of lipstick leads to an additional crime scene. In the culminating CTE lesson, information gleaned from all of the CTE lessons, science lessons and forensic science lessons, allows the students to discover who the responsible party is.
Forensic Science Lessons:
Lipstick will be explored as both a physical and chemical indicator of a person's ID, and footprints will be used as both a physical indicator of height and a chemical analysis of soil for court presentation.
Physical and Life Science Lessons:
Students will explore the scientific background and tools used for the forensic disciplines of crime investigations in the form of Newton's Law of Cooling, heredity and the genetics of blood type, decomposition of human bodies and the physiology of rigor.
This unit is brought to you by Jay Crawford (CTE Public Services), Kenn Lewis (CTE Health Science), and Gordon Sanford (Biology and Forensic Sciences) with support from the CTE Online curriculum leadership team and detailed coordination provided by the Course Team Trish Valceschini.