Course title

SCI 653 (1st Sem.) and SCI 654 (2nd Sem.)


Geometry, 1 year of Biological Science, 1 year of Physical Science (Chemistry recommended)

Course description

This course will cover the high school science standards as set forth by the state of Arizona. ( Content area will be in Forensic Investigation; including such topics as crime scene investigation; collection and analysis of evidence; blood splatter patterns; fingerprinting; forensic anthropology; toxicology; death and decomposition; etc.

Syllabus (including detailed lab information)

Forensic Science Syllabus
Palo Verde High Magnet School

Instructor: Mrs. Jennifer Lyons
Room: #135; periods 2;3;5
Phone: (520) 584-7478
E-mail: (preferred method
of contact)

Course Description:
This course will cover the high school science standards as set forth by the state of Arizona. ( Content area will be in Forensic Investigation; including such topics as crime scene investigation; collection and analysis of evidence; blood splatter patterns; fingerprinting; forensic anthropology; toxicology; death and decomposition; etc.

Course Objectives:
• For the students to understand basic scientific techniques; including metric measurement; scientific notation; and basic math.
• For the students to define forensic science and explain how multiple scientific disciplines are used throughout the investigative process.
• For the students to be able to accurately collect and analyze evidence and use the Scientific Method to solve a crime.
• For the students to know the manners of death; what processes occur after death; and how the time of death can be determined.
• For the students to become familiar with fingerprinting techniques and how they can be used as an identifying feature.
• For the students to be able to analyze various aspects of bones; teeth; and bite-marks for use as identification and recreation of a crime scene.
• For the students to be able to describe the different types of trace evidence and explain how Locard’s Principle of Exchange can place a person at the scene of a crime.
• For the students to explain the effects of various toxins on humans; how they can be tested for; and their forensic importance.
• For the students to be able to explain the methods for DNA analysis and fingerprinting; and the practical applications for these procedures.
• For the students to describe the correct methods for the collection of blood to preserve its integrity.
• For the students to be able to understand how the characteristics of blood affect blood spatter patterns.
• For the students to be able to distinguish between the various blood types and to study bloodstain and blood splatter patterns in relation to type of violence for use in crime scene investigation.
• For the students to list the elements necessary for fire to burn; the factors that effect how a fire burns; and the evidence and motives that indicate a fire was caused by arson.

• Eyewitness factors and the Scientific Method
• Drawing a Crime Scene to scale
• Body Farm recreation lab to demonstrate decomposition rates with changes in independent variables
• Fingerprint retrieval and identification lab
• Bone measurement lab to correlate bone length to height in individuals with changes in independent variables
• Collection and identification of hair types
• Collection and identification of fiber types
• “Mysterious White Power” lab- identification of unknown toxins using physical and chemical properties
• Arson lab: properties of chemicals and reactions of fibers to fire
• Blood typing lab (using simulated blood)
• Genetics of offspring using dominant and recessive traits of individuals
• Blood spatter analysis lab 1 using free fall blood drop data analysis to determine angle of impact
• Blood spatter analysis lab 2 using forced spray spatter to determine angle of impact and point of origiN/Area of convergence; spatter patterns; and collection techniques
Lab Safety:
All students must pass a lab safety exam before being permitted to perform lab activities in the classroom.
Text Book:
There is no text book for this course; although students will be expected to read a true crime novel and a fiction crime novel over the course of the year; in addition to multiple shorter readings.


• One 3-ring binder
• Loose-leaf paper
• Composition notebook (for class notes)
• Metric ruler
• Black or blue pens
• Highlighter
• Pencils with erasers
• Flash drive
• Scientific calculator (recommended)
• Colored pencils (recommended)

Activities will include; but are not limited to the following: laboratory work; research projects; oral presentations; reading; short essays; note-taking; class-work and homework.

Include but are not limited to lab materials; library; computer lab; laptops; resource books in classroom; dictionaries.

Performance activity will be assessed by test taking; oral questions; participation in class discussions; oral presentations; portfolios; group presentations; labs; and other means.

Evaluative Feedback (Summative Assessments)- 60% of grade
Other- Labs; research; essays; presentations- 40% of grade

Classroom Expectations:
Attendance Policy: TUSD has a strict attendance policy; with attendance being recognized as a major factor in success. Absences of any kind numbering 10 or more may result in loss of credit for the class; pending appeal. It is imperative that you come to class every day. You will not receive credit for work missed during an unexcused absence; no exceptions. In the event of an absence; it is the student’s responsibility to obtain the make-up work from the teacher (see make-up work; below.) Visit the TUSD website for further details regarding the attendance policies for the district.
Tardy Policy: The policies and procedures for tardiness to class has been attached at the end of the syllabus. Please be advised that entering class after 50% of the period has passed is considered an absence; not a tardy.
Electronics Policy: Cell phones; iPods; MP3 players; etc are not permitted for use in the classroom without the express permission of the teacher. Cell phones should be turned off or placed on silent before entering the classroom; and all electronics should be kept out of view. Failure to abide by the policy will result in disciplinary action at the discretion of the administration.
Valuables: You are responsible for any and all valuables that you bring into the classroom. It is strongly recommended that you leave valuables at home; and while at school do not leave your belongings unattended. Lockers may be purchased in the business office for $5 if you require a place to keep things during the school day.
Classroom Management: Students are expected to be respectful and polite; and will be treated in a like manner. Discipline issues are first addressed on an individual basis; with one-on-one conversations between the teacher and student. Further issues will involve the parents; counselors; and administration as needed and as indicated in the school-wide discipline procedures.

Hall Passes:
ÔÉò Hall passes are a privilege; not a right. Abuse them and you will lose them.
ÔÉò Hall passes are for emergency only.
 No hall passes will be given to see the counselors – you must make an appointment to see them.
ÔÉò No passes are allowed the first and/or last 15 minutes of the class per administration
ÔÉò No pass log; no pass; no exceptions!
ÔÉò Visits to the nurse do not count against your hall pass log

Grading Policies: *New grading policies attached at end
Grading Scale:

90-100% = A
80-89% = B
70-79% = C
60-69% = D
‚Üì 59% = F
• Grades will be updated on a weekly basis.
• Progress reports will be sent home every 2-3 weeks for parent signature.
• It is recommended that parents sign up for TUSDSTATS if they do not already have access. This allows you to see what grades your student is receiving and what work is missing; if any.
ÔÉò This class focuses on long-term projects and in-class labs so there is not homework on a nightly basis.
ÔÉò If homework is assigned; it is due by the end of 6th period on the day it is due unless stated otherwise
ÔÉò Late work policy:
o Work turned in after the DUE DATE will receive 10% off the earned grade at the discretion of the teacher; if turned in before the DEADLINE (see below)
o The DEADLINE for all work (the date after which it will no longer be accepted) is the day the of the unit test. Once the next unit has begun; work from the previous units will not be accepted for credit.

ÔÉò Absent work policy:
o If you are absent the day an assignment is due; you must turn it in the day you return. Please write the word “Absent” at the top of your paper so that it gets credited accordingly.
o If an assignment is given while you are absent; you will have as many days as you were absent to turn that assignment in when you return; unless the assignment is a long term one. For example: If you are given an overnight homework assignment while you were absent; and you were absent for 3 days; you will have 3 days after returning in which to complete the assignment and turn it in. You must write “Absent” on the top of your paper to earn the correct amount of credit. If you have a question; please ask rather than assume.
ÔÉò All assignments must be written legibly or they will not be graded.

Academic Dishonesty: *see the student handbook for further details about this
• Students are expected to do their own; original work for this class.
• Plagiarism or cheating will result in a zero for the assignment; as well as a call home and other discipline as decided by administration.

Keys for success:
• Attend class daily
• Be punctual
• Turn in all assignments
• Be responsible for obtaining make up work and returning it in a timely manner
• Review notes frequently
• Ask for help if you don’t understand something
• Communicate with your teacher and parents about concerns
• Utilize a planner and/or a calendar to keep track of due dates


Number of Tardies
(Per Class Period) Discipline
1 and 2 • Teacher/Student conference and warnings issued.
3 • Teacher/Student conference.
• Teacher contacts parent.
5 • Student and parental contact made.
• One (1) day after-school detention.
7 • Student conference and parental contact made.
• Two (2) days after-school detention.
10 • Referral.
• Three (3) days ISS.
• Parent/Student conference with administrator and LSC.
Continued Excessive Tardies • Referral.
• Parent/Student conference with administrator and LSC.
• One (1) week ISS.
***Consequences will compound for tardies to multiple classes throughout the student’s schedule.

Conference Period:
• Conference period is every Tuesday and Thursday from 8:15 to 8:55 am. USE IT! 
o Make up missing work! (remember; this is your job!)
o Get help with something you don’t understand!
o Show that you are dedicated to earning the best grade possible (believe it or not; this matters!)
o Have a quiet place to study
o Stay on top of your assignments
o Check on your grades

Standards-Based Grading and Reporting
At Palo Verde High Magnet School; we believe that grades reflect what a student knows and can do. Grades on report cards accurately reflect individual student achievement in relation to course expectations as outlined in the Palo Verde High Magnet School curriculum; which is based on Arizona State Standards. This practice is known as standards-based grading.

• Grading practices are fair and manageable and they support effective teaching and learning.
• Required procedures for grading are defined; used consistently; and explained clearly to students and parents in writing at the beginning of a semester or school year; or when grading procedures change.
• Grades are based on multiple and varied tasks/assessments over time within a grading period.
• Report card grades will be based on academic achievement only.
• Effort and behavior will be reflected within the citizenship grade.
Students will receive all accommodations and modifications as documented by Individualized Language Learning Plan (ILLP); Individualized Education Program (IEP); or Section 504 plan.
• All teachers will use “Making the Grade” and upload a minimum of two scores once a week.
• Teachers will assess student learning in a variety of ways over time.
• The progress report grade will be reported as a letter grade based on the following “Evaluative Feedback Grading Scale”:

90-100 A 4 Exceeds
80-89 B 3 Meets
70-79 C 2 Approaches
60-69 D 1 Falls Far Below
0-59 F 0

• Grades must be weighted in the following categories:
o Classwork
o Homework may be no more than 10% of the grade.
o Evaluative feedback must be at least 60% of the grade (a cumulative final exam may not lower a student’s grade by more than 10%).
o Formative assessment will be entered as receiving 0%.
• Evaluative feedback (summative assessments; final exam; projects; reports; exhibits; presentations; performance; and discussions) is used to determine evidence of learning.
• Feedback on individual tasks/assessments may include letters; numbers; or symbols.
• Formative assessments will not go into “Making the Grade” as a numerical or letter score. Teachers will enter the following “Descriptive Feedback Symbols”:

No Check Student did not assess Student must assess outside of class time
+ Meets Tutoring will support and extend learning
 Approaches Student needs to attend reteaching opportunities
- Falls Far Below Student must attend reteaching opportunities

• When recording non-graded student work; teachers will use the same “Descriptive Feedback Symbols” as above.
• Teachers will establish due dates and deadlines. Teachers are expected to separate the due date from the deadline; however; there may be some exceptions when the due date and deadline are the same.
o Work turned in after the due date and by the deadline may be lowered no more than one letter grade or 10% of the grade. (Teacher will make an annotation in the grade book indicating the deduction for late work.)
o Work submitted after the deadline will be recorded as a zero.
• Extra credit may not be used.

• Teachers will only assign homework that is related to the curriculum.
• Homework for practice or preparation for instruction may account for a maximum of 10% of the marking period grade. When turned in by the deadline; this homework is given credit. Teachers will use professional judgment to determine the value assigned to partially completed homework.
• Timely and meaningful feedback on both types of homework will be provided; feedback may take a variety of forms; as determined by the teacher.
• Reteaching occurs when the teacher or student determines that students are not meeting learning goals. Students will be required to attend conference period or tutoring.
• Reassessment opportunities will be offered in every course.
• Reassessment opportunities are identified by the teacher before the original task/assessment and occur within an instructional unit.
• When tasks/assignments are reassessed; they may be reassessed partially; entirely; or in a different format; as determined by the teacher.
• When reassessment is offered; all students may be reassessed; regardless of grade on original task/assessment if they meet the following requirements:
o Complete the original task or assessment
o Complete reteaching/relearning activities as determined by the teacher
o Attend conference period or tutoring
o Reassessment will not occur during class time
• The following assessments/tasks that indicate a final measure of learning may not be reassessed:
o End of course or semester exams
o Final research papers; reports; or essays
o Culminating projects or performances
• Reassessment grade/checkmark replaces the original grade.

School country

United States

School state


School city


High school

Palo Verde High Magnet School

School / district Address

1010 E 10th St.

School zip code


Requested competency code

Lab Science

Date submitted



Approved competency code

  • LINT
  • Integrated science

Approved date

Online / Virtual