The first week of program, we did a basic introduction to Forensics. I asked the students if they watched the CSI shows, such as, Bones, CSI: Miami, Law & Order: SVU, etc. That led to talking about the “CSI Effect,” and how those shows make forensics look like a fast process. In actuality, it is a time consuming and highly involved process. For example. when finding a fingerprint match, the shows make it look like they get the match instantly. That same week they learned about the history of forensics, and how applications of Forensics started.

The students had the opportunity to make their own microscopes, and compare it to the microscope that is used nowadays. Our lab for the microscope, was looking at what yogurt looked like and what bacteria you could see. The second week, was about trace evidence such as hair analysis, fiber, fingerprints, DNA, soil, feathers, rope, etc. We talked about hair analysis and fabric. About the structures of hair, the differences between human hair and animal, and how to collect hair. With fabric, we talked about the different types of fibers and the collection of them. The lab that was associated was to determine if the hair that they collected was human or animal hair.

For our fingerprint lesson, we discussed there are different types: latent, known, patent, and plastic that are the different ways that can be found. They also found out that everyone’s fingerprints are different and they have different pattern types such as: arch, loop, or whorl. They were able to dust for fingerprints and how to collect those prints. Also, we discussed how to determine what classification pattern was their own prints.

For DNA, they learned about what kind of DNA can be found at Crime Scenes, and how DNA is collected. The lab they did, was being able to extract the DNA cells from a banana and strawberry. Bloodstain pattern analysis was what we talked about that next week. We talked about the different types of patterns and bloodshed that can be found at crime scenes. They made their own fake blood and did two different labs. They created their own type of patterns and also they used the pipets to test at what height the blood droplet changes. They also learned about the math behind figuring where the bloodshed took place and at what height. They learned about that by calculating the area of convergence and area of origin. Besides the math portion, they learned about what the show Dexter does, and learned about “stringing.” We took one of our labs outside one day, and smashed watermelons. This was to determine on how different types of instruments/weapons can cause different impact and back spatter.

Written By: Karen Duquette