Grayce P. Storey
The intent of this unit is to be enjoyable, creative and to enhance the thinking skills of the students by utilizing the scientific method with a myriad of hands-on-activities. This unit will also show diversity between science and other disciplines. I will introduce scientific techniques that a criminalist may use in a court of law to aid in convicting or proving a suspect innocent. A criminalist encompasses areas of the physical and natural science which are applicable to the analysis of physical evidence. In this unit, the following topics will be addressed:
1. Forensic science which is the application of science to criminal investigation in order to provide evidence that can be used in the solution of criminal cases.
2. Forensic psychology or forensic psychiatry is concerned with the area where psychology or psychiatry and the law interact.
3. Physical evidence is any and all objects that can help establish that a crime has been committed.
4. DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) is the blueprint for life. It is a nucleic acid that carries information that controls the building of protein and is present in the blood. DNA is unique in each individual except some identical twins. DNA fingerprinting is a procedure that produces a unique genetic map or fingerprint for each individual. The validity of DNA fingerprinting has been well established by the courts. Critics, however, complain that sloppy laboratoryprocedures reduce the tests reliability.
5. Fingerprints penetrate through layers of skin. Fingerprints start to develop during the fetal stage of development and the fingerprint remains the same throughout life.
I plan to use this unit in my eighth grade Earth Science class. It can be used up to grade 10. This unit will run for three weeks. Included in this unit is a vocabulary list, a career choice, lesson plans with laboratory activities, teacher reading list, student reading list, and a bibliography. Additional resources such as speakers (Criminalist Henry Lee, police, detective, criminalist, forensic scientist, judge, lawyer) will visit the classroom, and a trip to the court will take place. Various hands-on-activities are recommended as well as the availability of resource books, CHEMS kit fingerprinting and crime solving.
I am sure that this unit will enhance and broaden the minds of students at they correlate science and the law. This unit will give students the opportunity to do research and explore ideas. The O.J. Simpson murder trial is being used as a core for this unit.