This week was our second week of program, where we finally got to the fun stuff! On Monday, they had started learning about trace evidence. That day they had learned about hair analysis and its importance that it has when found at crime scenes. The activity that they did was observe different hairs that I brought to class. They had thought looking at the different hairs were interesting. Alyssa Sherman was convinced one of the hairs I brought was weave. They figured out if the hairs were pulled out or naturally fell out just by looking at the root of the hair and at the different structures of the hair.
The next day, they learned about fiber analysis. Fiber goes hand in hand with hair when it is found at a Crime Scene. In that activity, they observed different fabrics underneath the microscope. A lot of the students thought it was really cool compared to the hair. They said, “Looking at the fabric is so colorful.” David Cruz had discovered on one of the fabrics underneath the microscope that there was a pink fiber on a white piece of fabric. I mentioned that that would be cross-contamination because the fabrics were touching. Wednesday, they learned about DNA – Deoxyribonucleic Acid. The activity that they did was to extract DNA from a strawberry and banana. They thought it was cool the process of being able to extract the DNA. They used a buffer of dish soap, salt, and water and added it into the strawberry and banana. Then, they added isopropyl alcohol to the tube to get the DNA extraction. They then observed the DNA underneath the microscope. Pattie Williams had said, “That the strawberry underneath the microscope looked like mold.” After looking at both the strawberry and the banana underneath the microscope, they compared the differences between the two. They said that they could see the red color of the strawberry, but there was no color for the banana. Underneath the microscope, they said the strawberry cells were more circular compared to the banana cells. Thursday was all about fingerprints. They learned about the different fingerprints that they can have, and that no two people can have the same fingerprint. They had also learned about techniques that can recover fingerprints at a crime scene. There were three activities that they did. The first activity was to obtain samples of their own fingerprints. They rolled their own fingers in ink on to the print card. The second activity, they put their fingerprints on plates or cups and dusted for prints. Then they had to take tape, and remove that fingerprint off that plate or cup to get their latent print. In the third activity, they learned about a different way to get fingerprints by chemical analysis. They learned about superglue fuming, where they put their fingerprints in a zip lock bag and put a couple drops of superglue in. They saw their fingerprints in the zip lock bag because it reacted with the superglue.
Written By: Karen Duquette