Friday, July 6, 2012

Forensic Science Quest 1

Our first week of Forensic Science camp has proved to be a very interesting, intriguing and fun one! We have truly gotten into the minds of criminal investigators, exploring techniques from fingerprint identification to tool impressions!

On Monday, we learned about some forensics basics, including crime scene vocabulary, types of evidence and crime scene protocol. We did an activity  to practice our observation skills, in which campers acted out a variety of crimes and we had to recall details of the criminal and the crime afterwards. We also discovered our dinosaur poster from the Education Room was stolen! We had to investigate the crime scene by carefully sketching and measuring the evidence.
Campers recalling details of the simulated crime in their journals.

Amelia and Omar acting out one of the crimes.
Octavia's extremely detailed sketch of the Dinosaur Poster crime scene!
Stefania measuring one piece of evidence, a rope.
Hannah helping Michael and Huajun take their own fingerprints.
Roni's group finding analyzing their fingerprints.

Cole's shoe print!
On Tuesday we did a Handwriting Mystery to understand how investigators take samples of suspects’ handwriting and compare it to ransom notes or other handwriting samples from the crime scene. We studied many methods of handwriting analysis, including line quality, size and proportion and pen lifts, to match our handwriting samples to the specimen. We took our own fingerprints and looked at them closely to find patterns and points of identification.We also took our shoe prints by spraying WD-40 on the bottoms of our shoes, taking steps on paper and then using magnetic powder to see the unique features.

Gina and Amanda doing handwriting analysis.
On Thursday, we did a fiber analysis in which we looked at different fibers under a stereoscope. Investigators often use this method to match unique fibers on a victim’s clothing to the clothing of a suspect. We learned that natural fibers have intertwined strands while synthetic fibers have straighter strands. We also learned how tool marks are used as evidence. We looked at the impressions of different tools and sketched and took measurements to determine which impression belonged to the tool from the crime scene. Tool impressions can be used when a criminal pries open a window or door, or if there is a dent left from an impact. 

Campers sketching the appearance of different fibers under a stereoscope.

On Friday, we had an exciting crime to solve! A piece of amber was stolen out of our display case, and it was up to the campers to figure out which of the 4 suspects committed the crime. We used fingerprint, shoeprint, and handwriting analysis along with deductive reasoning to find our criminal. The campers did an awesome job and successfully convicted Suspect #4!  (Don't worry parents, it was a mock crime scene.) We also used our deductive reasoning skills to find the criminal of another crime using clues.
Cole, Derek and Omar analyzing the footprint left at the crime scene.

Hannah helping Amanda, Stefania and Gina analyze the fingerprints left at the crime scene.

Michael and Huajun analyzing the ransom note left at the crime scene.

1 comment: