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Forensic Science Games

Instructor: Kimberly Elliott

Kimberly teaches college humanities and has a master's degree in humanities.

Thanks to modern television shows, forensic science has become a popular learning topic. While the field encompasses subjects such as logic, chemistry, biology, mathematics, and psychology, here are some games that can hone in on some of the variables in this diverse field. Use them separately or put them together for a thoroughly interactive experience.

Fingerprints

This game focuses on attention to detail, and exposes students to the science of fingerprint analysis.

You will need:

  • non-toxic ink
  • index cards
  • magnifying glass

Process:

First, create a blind list labeling each student with an alphanumeric code to make this game anonymous. On the left edge of each index card, write a student's name. Then, take the fingerprint from each student's right index finger on his or her corresponding card twice. Place one print on the half with their name, and place the other print on the half opposite their name. Collect the cards and code them according to the blind list you created. Write the code on the half opposite the name and then cut in half.

Pass out the name cards to the class, and shuffle the anonymous cards. Then, randomly select two of the anonymous cards: one to serve as the victim, the other to serve as the suspect. Then, have students analyze the prints from each and compare them to the known database to determine the identification of both victim and suspect.

This game would be a great way to follow up a lesson on forensic science, which explores the definition, history and types of forensic science, and is followed by a quiz to assess your students' knowledge before proceeding to the next game.

Motive & Opportunity

This game will divide your class into teams to investigate a crime scene. This will take some time to stage, but the results are worth it. For the purposes of this game, we can assume that the victim has been identified and transported to the hospital, and that the suspect has been identified and transported to the police station. The students' task is to gather evidence to support a trial and conviction. They should strive to address motive and opportunity.

You will need:

  • yellow caution tape
  • fake blood, splattered in such a way that fits the crime
  • the weapon used (use your best judgement regarding safety issues)
  • a variety of 'evidence' such as shoe imprints, bloody fingerprints, etc.

Process:

Divide your class into teams of at least three students. Have them divide the responsibilities as follows: One photographer, one preparer, and one evidence recorder. Their task is to examine the scene, take pictures and sketches, and record evidence. In order to reuse the scene among all the teams however, all physical evidence should remain in the room. Ask each team to prepare their findings in front of the classroom to compare notes with other teams to ensure all pertinent information was gathered.

This game would be a great way to follow up a lesson on forensic evidence, which helps students understand the types of forensic evidence and explores real world cases using forensics.

Trace Evidence

This game builds upon observation and logic skills, as well as some knowledge of your general area.

You will need:

  • wide, clear packing tape
  • several items of clothing (socks, mittens, t-shirts, etc.)
  • a roll of butcher, or other long, white paper
  • 1 piece of white copy paper per article of clothing
  • magnifying glass
  • 1 grocery shopping bag per article of clothing

Process:

Visit several areas around home or school where some amount of debris is available. Drop one piece of clothing per location, making sure to note the location of each. Then, place the article of clothing inside a grocery bag to avoid mixing debris. Have students first shake the article of clothing over a large piece of butcher paper to remove large debris. Then, have them use the packing tape to press down on the clothing item to remove smaller fibers, and re-adhere the tape to the copy paper. Using the magnifying glass, have them examine the debris left behind, both on the butcher paper and on the copy paper, to determine the location where each article of clothing was dropped.

This game would be an excellent way to explore the concepts learned in a lesson on trace evidence. This lesson explores the types of trace evidence found at crime scenes and offers specific examples of this type of forensic evidence.

Additional Learning Options

Study.com has a number of additional lessons on the topic of forensic science. Most notable are:

Both of these lessons offer a video component and are followed by a quiz to ensure mastery of the topic material.

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