Forensic Science Class

by Annette Naiga
(kampala, Uganda, Africa)

Photo Credit:  Nebarnix

Photo Credit: Nebarnix


A crime has been committed and you are part of the Forensic science team called in to aid in its investigation.

You and your team must determine everything possible about a substance that has been collected from a crime scene and report back to your superior about your findings. Be thorough and, above all, open-minded. There’s no telling what you may find with the simplest of tests.

You will prepare an Evidence Report concerning the types of tests you need to perform to identify your assigned evidence. The tests you should consider for your work include atomic emission or mass spectroscopy, gas or thin layer chromatography, polymerase chain reaction, DNA electrophoresis, electrochemistry, and other.

Some of the tests may be very simple, others needed may be more complex. Evidence will certainly need to be tested with multiple tests.

The Report

The specific information you are to convey through your Evidence Report includes:

Your name, student number, your address, your evidence exhibit letter, and the date of your investigation.

An explanation of the process you and your investigator followed to identify your substance

What search statements did you use with what search engines?

What web sites did you go to?

What basic information did you get from those web sites?

An explanation of the tests that need to be run to identify the unknown substance(s).

You need to explain how each teat is run, indicate the piece of equipment used, and specify what the test is identifying or “looking for”.

You need to include an explanation of what the test results look like. A diagram may also be used.

You will also need to diagram or thoroughly explain the result and the interpretation of how to use the information to identify the unknown.

EXHIBIT 1: Insurance investigators believe that the family of a recently deceased coronary patient may have caused her death. What should you look for in a blood sample removed from the body at the time of autopsy to successfully prosecute the family for murder?

EXHIBIT 2: Investigators of a hit-and-run accident leading to the death of elderly couple need to prove the car belongs to their suspect. Tyre marks at the scene and the some paint flakes where the car hit the wife’s walking aid are the only evidence.

EXHIBIT 3: police are investigating allegations that a man has poisoned his neighbour's dog for excessive barking. The dog's owner believes the dog ingested ethylene glycol. prove he did and that it came from the neighbour's garage.

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