Course title

Forensics Science


C or better in chemistry and one other lab science class; C or better in algebra and departmental evaluation

Course description

Forensic Science

Course Title: SCI310

Prerequisite:† C or better in chemistry and one other lab science class; C or better in algebra and departmental evaluation

Course Description:

Forensic Science is the application of science to the law. Science offers the knowledge and technology needed for definition; enforcement and clarification of the use of evidence in both civil and criminal cases.

This is an introductory forensic science course that explores how all the disciplines form an integrated application in solving crimes. Case studies and crime scenarios help students to understand the implications and complicated issues that are emerging as the science of forensics continues to develop. In a world where technology plays an increasing role in solving crimes; it is important that our students appreciate the role that forensics plays in modern criminal court cases.

Topics included but are not limited to crime science analysis; glass and soil analysis; forensic toxicology; fingerprint analysis; DNA analysis and forensic anthropology. This is a laboratory-based course that will prepare students interested in careers in forensic science; law enforcement as well as related industries. The course syllabus concentrates on performance objectives in the Arizona Science; Mathematics; Reading; and Writing Standards.† † †

As American citizens; our students will be called upon to fulfill their civic duty as jurors. It is therefore crucial that our students be informed as to the nature of criminal investigations and the procedures used to process and examine evidence; and their role in the courts. Field and laboratory investigations are a core part of this course as students employ the scientific concepts and principles applicable to the various scenarios studied.

Duration of Study: This is a full year course.

Textbook (Title and copyright date):

Forensic Science: Fundamentals & Investigations - 3rd Edition

By: Bertino & Bertino

Publisher: Cengage

Copyright Date: 2021

Pages: 898

ISBN: 9780357124987

Grade Level: High School

Context for Course:

This course is designed to provide students with a foundational understanding of forensic science. This will be accomplished by reading the text; observing and identifying information from case studies; using online bibliographic search techniques; performing experiments; writing essays; collaborating and communicating findings.

Students will spend most of their time collaborating and working in groups. Laboratory safety techniques are taught and utilized at the beginning of each year and will continue to be used throughout the year. Specific observational skills will be taught in the beginning of the school year and continued to be used throughout the semesters.

Students will use the year working from microscopic scientific techniques to macroscopic and microscopic crime scene identification techniques and skills. The goal is for students to have a better understanding of forensic science; laboratory techniques; and investigative skills when securing a crime scene; working with eyewitnesses; sketching the crime scene; searching; securing; and collecting evidence.

Topics to Cover:

  • Observation Skills
  • Crime Scene and Evidence Collection
  • Study of Hair
  • Study of Fiber and Textiles
  • Pollen and Spore Examination
  • Fingerprints
  • DNA Fingerprinting
  • Drug Identification and Toxicology
  • Handwriting
  • Death Meaning; Manner; Mechanism; Time; Cause
  • Soil Examination
  • Forensic Anthropology
  • Glass Evidence
  • Tool Marks

Division of Class Time:

25% - Introductory/Lecture:

Students will be introduced to each new chapter/topic. Notes will be given in lecture format at the beginning of each section within the chapters. During this time; students will write in their notebooks/binders.

50% - Reading/Writing:

Students will be given case studies and crime scene scenarios to analyze and enhance observation skills; and will be given assignments to reiterate new information.

25% - Activity/Laboratory:

Students will participate in 2-3 activities and/or laboratory activities each week.

Course Outcome:

After successfully completing this course; the student will:

? Refine interrelationships among concepts and patterns of evidence found in different central scientific explanations.

? Develop and use mathematical; physical; and computational tools to build evidence-based models and to pose theories.

? Use scientific principles and theories to build and refine standards for data collection; posing controls; and presenting evidence.

? Build; refine; and represent evidence-based models using mathematical; physical; and computational tools.

? Revise predictions and explanations using evidence; and connect explanations/arguments to established scientific knowledge; models; and theories.

? Develop quality controls to examine data sets and to examine evidence as a means of generating and reviewing explanations.

? Reflect on and revise understandings as new evidence emerges.

? Use data representations and new models to revise predictions and explanations.

? Consider alternative theories to interpret and evaluate evidence-based arguments.

? Engage in multiple forms of discussion in order to process; make sense of; and learn from others? ideas; observations; and experiences.

? Represent ideas using literal representations; such as graphs; tables; journals; concept maps; and diagrams.

? Demonstrate how to use scientific tools and instruments.

Required Laboratories:

Grading Period 1: Locard?s Principle

-†††††† Aim: Locard?s exchange principle states that when a person comes into contact with an object or another person; a cross-transfer of physical evidence can occur.

-†††††† Student Objective: The student will understand; demonstrate; and summarize Locard?s exchange principle.

Grading Period 2: Fiber Burn Test

-†††††† Aim: Fibers are used in forensic science to create a link between crime and suspect. Unlike fingerprints and DNA evidence; fibers are not specific to a single person. Fibers may be transferred directly from victim to suspect or suspect to victim.

-†††††† Student Objective: The student will compare and contrast various types of fibers through physical and chemical analysis.

Grading Period 3: Fingerprint Identification

-†††††† Aim: Fingerprints consist of natural secretions of sweat glands that are present in the friction ridge of the skin. There are three basic fingerprint patterns that consist of many minutiae patterns used to analyze and identify fingerprints of suspects and victims.

-†††††† Student Objective: The student will identify the basic types of fingerprints. The student will describe the characteristics of fingerprints.

Grading Period 4: Chromatography/Handwriting Analysis

-†††††† Aim: Like fingerprints; every person?s handwriting is unique and personalized. Because handwriting is difficult to disguise and forge; handwriting analysis is a good tool for including or excluding persons when determining a match between known material and questioned documents.

-†††††† Student Objective: The student will describe and demonstrate the 12 types of handwriting exemplars of handwriting traits. The student will Describe some of the technology used in handwriting analysis.

Grading Period 5: Time of Death Analysis

-†††††† Aim: During autopsy; the forensic examiner wants to determine when the person died. By establishing the time of death; a suspect may be proved innocent simply because he or she was not in the same place as the victim as the time of death. Many factors are used to approximate the time of death.

-†††††† Student Objective: The student will describe the stages of decomposition of a corpse. The student will describe how various environmental factors may influence the estimated time of death.

Grading Period 6: Shoe Box Crime Scenes

-†††††† Aim: Students will have the opportunity to use their imagination to create a crime scene and solve someone else?s crime scene. They will integrate knowledge of concepts learned in Forensic Science over the course of a year. They will create a 3-D diorama of a crime scene of choice; have a victim; include three types of physical evidence; use direction; write up a case study; and a scenario.

-†††††† Student Objective: The student will summarize the seven steps of a crime scene investigation. The student will practice and improve their observation skills.

Introductory Laboratories Required:

-†††††† Laboratory Equipment Gallery Walk

*Students must have a basic understanding of what laboratory equipment and materials they will be using throughout the year. This laboratory will allow them to see; identify; and describe the use of each equipment.

Materials Needed:

-†††††† Example Fibers (Microscope slides)

-†††††† Example Species of Hair (Microscope slides)

-†††††† Fiber and Hair sample sets

-†††††† Fingerprint collection kits

-†††††† Tape (Clear)

-†††††† Ink pads

-†††††† Magnifying Lenses

-†††††† Microscopes

-†††††† Microscope slides

-†††††† Cover Slips

Student Assessment:

The teacher will provide a variety of assessments; including teacher-made tests and quizzes; projects; laboratory reports; and presentations.

School country

United States

School state


School city


School / district Address

3150 S. Avenue A

School zip code


Requested competency code

Lab Science

Date submitted



Approved competency code

  • LINT
  • Integrated science

Approved date

Online / Virtual