Forensics Day 1

Here’s what happened on Day 1 of Forensics:

  • Starter: Survey–what do you know about forensics
  • Toast Post-It Activity Team Building
    1. post-it notes to make toast (inspired by this TED talk)
      1. first, everyone draws on post-its how they would make toast (1 step per post-it)
      2. get into small groups and introduce themselves to the group
      3. then, they place their post-its all together, and need to come up with the clearest explanation for how to make toast with their groups (in groups of 4)
      4. have them place all of this on the board
      5. how does this relate to forensics?
      6. get into a discussion of what all the different people in forensics do, and who they are, and what they do (have this be a diagram on the board)
  • Introductions and Syllabus: here I explained what this class was about and what we are going to be doing in this class
    1. twitter: we have a class Twitter account that the students will be posting to
    2. field trip forms: some students still needed to turn them in!
  • Tour of crime scene: I had a crime scene set up in the back of the classroom, and I showed the students what was in it, and what they needed to start thinking about as Forensic scientists
  • Crime scene pre-lab: they did a mini-webquest on what it means to approach a crime scene, how to take evidence, what kind of evidence to take, etc.
  • Investigating a crime scene lab: they needed to essentially document all of the evidence and the crime scene itself in sketched, pictures, etc. Super fun in hindsight.
  • Fingerprinting Mini-Lesson: I taught them briefly what fingerprints are and how to fingerprint someone else
  • Fingerprint Lab: they took their own fingerprints, did someone else, and collected latent fingerprints
    • they looooved this lab. I think they could have done it for the rest of the day. At the end of it, I had them make their own fingerprinting data base for their right thumb print, and then determine whos print is whos using that data base. They cracked the code pretty easily (it was alphabetical), but the idea of it was cool. Next year, I think I would add on a CODIS part to this as well and start to talk to them about how our fingerprinting system works and who gets fingerprinted and why and where this gets stored and what it can tell about you.
  • Time to work on mini-presentations: they’re going to be presenting a topic throughout either this week or next, so they took this time to make those presentations.

Here’s the main takeaway I got form Day 1: My attention span is short. Shorter than theirs. By the time they’ve started an activity, I’m like–are you done yet? I think it’s because I have this incessant need to entertain them–the make them enjoy all the 6 hours that they have with me. But the fact of the matter is that they’re going to zone out, because they’re only teenagers (heck, I still zone out all the time), and this is a class–not a circus.

I also learned that it’s really important to switch up spaces. Today we tried going to the library for the very last part of the day, and it was like–aaaaah. A different room. It was so much easier to work all of a sudden. But when I think back to my own college experience, I remember that whenever I studied, I would switch spaces every hour or so simply because the scenery got boring to me. I need to remember that for future days…