Dear Readers,

Thanks to the help of warm- up activities, my teens not only know their peers, but are comfortable in their environment. I can tell because the room gets filled with smiles, laughter, and positive energy! Naishawn even commented “ We get to go on field trips?!? I love this job.” This week we started research projects! Teens got into teams of 3, so in total we have 6 groups. Each came up with their team name such as “ the unknown’s, the powerpuffs, the kat’s, the big head’s and so on.” Although the group names are iffy, their research topics are not. Once we entered into the FBI website, they provide an in-depth “famous cases and criminals” section. Teens choose topics such as, 9/11, Bonnie and Clyde, the Beltway Snipers, and Al Capone. Teens are still conducting their research, and preparing for presentations. So be on the look out!

We switched topics and ended the week with hair and impressions. After learning the difference of how TV shows dramatize laboratory evidence, the teens understood how important it is to pay attention to all sides of a story- reality vs myths. Ahmaya said” I never really thought about how the low lights in CSI would really interfere with actual analysis in a real forensics lab.” We then learned about parts of the hair such as cortex, medulla, shaft, and root. The teens also took a look at pictures of different types of animal hair such as rat, cat, horse and pig. Aaliyah said “ Ewwww the rat hair is disgusting, look at clumps and ridges.” Kimberly said “ Wow dog and pig hair look really similar to human hair.” The teens also took at look at Ms. N’s hair under the microscope. The teens were able to identify and get a good look at hair with large roots. “ Isaih was shocked when he learned about the root; he said “ this little root can have nuclear DNA?!?!… but its so small.”

The next topic was imprints. We discussed tire tracks, shoe prints, and dental marks. We played small activities that included famous cases. Then once teens learned enough about dental marks, they took their measurements on foam plates! Andrea said “ Pass me the different markers, I want to color coordinate my different dental marks.” Once the teens were done, I ran into the room all energized, and shocked. I told the teens “ Who took a bite of my apple.. this was my lunch.” The teens then started bursting out laughing and yelling. I then told them to help me find the culprit using our new skills. Teens put the foam plates on one table and out the apple in the middle; they slowly removed plated they believed did not fit the dental marks on the apple. The class was stuck on 2 teens, April and Isaih, but by this time knew I asked one of them to bite my apple on purpose. April is the culprit and I am glad the teens got as far in their analysis as they did! Good job forensics class!

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