Forensic Science

Course Title: 
Course Description: 

Ironwood Ridge High School - Forensic Science SCI006

Course Outline

Note: This course introduces students to the MANY modern disciplines of Forensic Science. Solving problems will be a major focus of this course. Students will be expected to theorize, design experiments, research forensic methods, synthesize information, and make conclusions based on their own empirical evidence. Forensic science allows for students to practice science and inquiry. For every piece of physical evidence brought in for analysis, the student must apply the scientific method

Prerequisites: Biology, Physics, and completion or concurrent enrollment in Chemistry or Pre-AP Chemistry.

Semester I: Units of Study – 2-4 Hands on Labs in each Unit
1. Introduction to Forensic Science and the Law
What Is Forensic Science?/Crime Laboratories/Highlights in the History of Forensic Science Methodology/Criminal Justice and the Law/Steps in Pursuing Justice/Types of Crimes/Federal Rules of Evidence.

2. Types of Evidence - Testimonial/Direct/Indirect//Physical Evidence – Class vs. Individual evidence. Students will learn how to differentiate, and gather both types as well as interview techniques of suspects, and witness at a crime scene.

3. The Crime Scene-At the Crime Scene–Inductive/deductive reasoning, Scientific Method
Students will learn the correct protocol when processing a crime scene/Packaging evidence/Chain of Custody.

4. Fingerprints-At the Crime Scene-Microscopy
Students will study basic properties of fingerprints and biometrics -fingerprint ridge pattern and minutiae classification. Students will learn to obtain (lifting) latent fingerprints with powder, ninhydrin, cyanoacrylate (superglue) and Iodine fuming.

5. Hair-as Evidence at the Crime Scene-Microscopy
Students will study the structure of hair vs. synthetic fiber/Identifying human hair/Absorbed substances. Students will learn to indentify the difference between human animal hair, hair from Caucasoid, Negroid and mongoloid individual as well as color treated hair.

6. Fibers-as Evidence–Microscopy/Conclusions from the Tests/Density/Refractive Index. Students will conduct a flame test lab on various synthetic and natural fibers and learn to identify them.

7. Drugs-Drugs and Crime-Spectroscopy, chromatography
Students will learn to identify and classify drug types and the connection between drugs and crime. Students will carry out spot plate tests on various types of “drugs” in order to identify and rule out possibilities at crime scene.

8. Toxicology: Poisons and Alcohol–Chemistry-Connection of Blood alcohol levels to the law/LD 50/ Mees lines…

Disciplines of Forensic Science PowerPoint Presentation: Students will individually research a discipline in Forensic Science and present a PowerPoint Presentation with write up and bibliography.

Mock Crime Scene Scenario: Students will gather information, using correct chain of custody crime scene protocol, analyze, map, interview mock suspects and submit a written report of their “solution” to the crime.

Serial Killer Unit with PowerPoint Presentation: Student pairs research and present a PowerPoint presentation of a serial killer of choice with bibliography slide.

Semester II: Units of Study – 2-4 Hands on Labs in each Unit 9. Trace Evidence – Chemistry, Chromatography Identifying white powders/lip prints/ Students will use chromatography techniques to identify a lipstick lip print found at a crime scene

10. Forensic Serology: - Blood and Blood Spatter. Students will learn basic ABO/Rh human blood type groups, how to determine whether evidence at crime scenes is blood or not with the Kastle-Meyer Test; determine whether blood is human or animal with the Precipitin test. Detecting Latent blood at crime scenes with luminol and BlueStar © Students will learn to identify and “read” blood spatter patterns as well an angle of impact at crime scenes.

11. Forensic Ballistics: Students will learn the physics of ballistics, how to identify and match striation marks from known standards to unknowns on bullets, cartridges and gun chambers using a simulated virtual comparison microscope. Students will learn how to identify various types of weaponry and munitions.

12. DNA Analysis: Genetics, Probability
Students will learn the history of DNA use in crime scenes, study the pivotal O.J. Simpson case and learn the basic of Isolating DNA from cells/PCR: Polymerase Chain Reaction and DNA Fingerprinting

13. Human Remains – Human Anatomy, anthropology/odontology - Investigating Human Remains/Postmortem Interval: Determining the Time of Death - Forensic Anthropology: Skeletal Remains /Human vs. Animal Bones

14 Forensic Entomology – Study of insects to determine TOD using various methodology (ADH, Instar stages etc.) Students will investigate the species and instar stage and size of insects found at crime scenes in order to determine time of death. Students will study the case of “Silvia Hunt” using climatological data and insect pupation evidence to determine accumulated degree hour to develop a timeline to pinpoint when she was murdered.

15. Forensic Geology/Soil Analysis - Chemistry
Students will learn how soil evidence can be used to solve crimes evidence/Soil Constituents/Reading a topographic map. Students will learn how to categorize and identify various types of soil, and sands from around the globe. Students will learn how to make a cast of footprint evidence, as well as identify various types of tire tread evidence.

16. Glass – As Evidence
Students will learn the behavior and types of glass found at crimes scenes Nature and Density of Glass/Chemical vs. Physical properties of glass. Students will conduct labs to determine the refractive index of various types of glass. Students will learn how to read fracture pattern of glass at crime scenes.

17. Document and Handwriting Analysis-Characteristics/Types of Forgery/Paper types
Students will learn the basics of handwriting analysis and what it can and cannot determine about a person. How to identify various types of forgery, check washing and document altercations. Students will conduct thin layer chromatography in order to identify known and unknown ink types to identify crime scene ink

18. Forensic Photography – Students will learn the proper techniques of crime scene and evidence photography. Students will create and properly photograph mock crime scene of their own and present the photos to the class.

Projects and Field Trips:
Javelina Decomposition Lab: Students will collect and study climate/temperature/entomological/decomposition stages of a javelina as it decomposes in order to determine time of death

Morgue Field Trip: to Pima County or UMC morgue

School Information: 
Amphitheater Public Schools
Oro Valley
2475 W Naranja Drive
Zip code: 
Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Need lab info