Search form

Classroom CSI: Fun Forensics Activities that Use Common Core Principles

Forensic science uses different scientific methods to gather and analyze evidence to help solve crimes or other law-related issues. Students attend middle and higher-level institutions to learn forensic science, which is a good career opportunity, provides employment, and helps passionate students to learn more about their interests.

However, teachers have had to stick to a strict curriculum when teaching forensic science classes for the longest time. The rigid emphasis on standardized assessment from the foundation stages to the A-levels hinders inquiry-based learning progress—an idea usually met with cynicism. 

Fortunately, with the growth of technology and people's ability to embrace diversity worldwide, we can now include fun forensic activities in classroom Crime Scene Investigation, CSI, without diverting from the common core principles. The core principles of forensic science include:

  • The law of individuality.
  • The principle of exchange.
  • The law of progressive exchange.
  • The principle of comparison.
  • The principle of analysis.
  • The law of probability.
  • The law of circumstantial facts. 

Here are some CSI activity ideas to get you started!

Alternative Fun Activities to Make Forensic Science Fun

Paper Towel Chromatography 

In forensics, chromatography can obtain critical information to determine cases that would have otherwise hit a dead end. For instance, a forensic official can use gas chromatography to determine whether a deceased person had ingested any drugs or alcohol before death.

For a classroom CSI setup, you will need paper towels, a bowl, tape, black pens, and scissors. Start the experiment by cutting a paper towel into 1-inch wide strips. About an inch up from the bottom, take one paper towel strip and draw a line across it using your black pen. Take your strips and hand them over a bowl of water with their tips touching the water but not the ink.

Tape the paper towels in this position, then make your observations. Usually, the water should creep up the paper towel strips and differentiate every ink into a cool dye pattern. Teachers should monitor and seek written or oral observations from the students to gauge their abilities.

Watching and Analyzing Forensic Files 

Watching and analyzing forensic files is perfect for grade 6 to grade 12 students. Here, students can watch, assess, and explore different forensic activities with the help of a guide. After finding a video (from the internet) related to your topic of study, allow the students to watch the episode and ask them what they think.

Forensic science topics to consider, include blood spatter, fingerprints, entomology, pathology, toxicology, ballistics, and explosives. Also, remember to pick videos that do not contain nudity, excessive foul language, or are overly graphic.

You can use a guide to teach the students and explore all the available options. For every topic and video watched, students should provide their unbiased views. Observing and analyzing forensic files helps increase the students' focus and attention to crucial details that may be important for solving forensic cases.

Handwriting Analysis 

In forensic science, no detail is too little. Any characteristics of people, including handwriting, can give significant clues that may be vital to cracking the case. For this activity, students must identify forged documents and determine the originality of various written documents. Also, the students should practice examining handwriting and should be able to tell which one matches with another.

Web Adventures 

Web adventures are the perfect way to bring entertainment and fun into your forensic science classroom. By following the three adventures: Rookie Training for beginners, Canine Cape for intermediates, or Burning Star for advanced learners, students can collect evidence, ask questions, and derive conclusions that will help them improve their forensic skills.

Fingerprints Classification 

Fingerprints classification and identification form an integral part of forensic investigations. Therefore, students need to learn how to use fingerprints to track criminal records for suspects and learn about their previous arrests and convictions to facilitate their arrest, sentencing, and parole decisions.

In this activity, students will learn about fingerprint classification and all it entails. They will follow the scientific method to develop a unique fingerprint classification system by observing different fingerprints.

While at it, the students can also participate in activities requiring them to dust for fingerprints to facilitate evidence collection and, eventually, facilitate fingerprints classification. Fingerprints at the crime scene can be removed and transported to the crime lab to see if they match anything in the database's fingerprints.

The teacher should carefully monitor how students engage in fingerprints identification processes. Instructors should also watch how students maneuver on different surfaces such as glasses and other delicate materials.

Change Blindness Demonstration 

Can you spot the difference between two photos with plenty of resemblances? The Change Blindness Demonstration classroom CSI allows children to test their ability to tell the differences between two flashing photos — it is an opportunity to learn more about forensic science while incorporating fun.

To test your students, find two almost identical photos, create a flashing effect with each image lasting less than a second before the second one pops up. You will notice that, while some people take a few seconds to spot some differences, others will take a longer time to come up with a single difference. The main aim of the change blindness demonstration is to help improve visual representation, which is critical in forensic practice.

Why Fun Forensic Activities Are Important for Classroom CSI

Fun forensic activities are essential for classroom CSI because they help teachers understand their students' strongholds without necessarily making them feel like they are being examined. This teaching model also improves the students' understanding of different aspects of forensics-related activities.

The Key Takeaway

Forensic science refers to using different scientific methods to help solve crime cases and other law-related issues. Today, forensic science plays a huge role in our society more than ever. Apart from allowing students to pursue their passion, forensic science continues to provide a source of income for many people worldwide.

However, for students, studying forensic science can be tricky, primarily because of the nature of the job. Therefore including fun forensic activities in Classroom CSI is a much-welcomed idea. If students can engage in fun activities while learning simultaneously, it is an option that we are bound to take at some point.

Students can engage in fun activities, including chromatography, watching and analyzing crime scene videos, web adventure, and handwriting analysis.

Written by Mary Joseph
Education World Contributor
Copyright© 2021 Education World