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Spring SAVY 2022 – Forensic Science for 1st/2nd Grade (Mills)

Posted by on Monday, February 7, 2022 in SAVY.

Cracking the Case!

This past Saturday was such a fun time together at SAVY! Students were excited to jump in and launch investigations to help solve our mystery! We visited the “crime scene” to assess the evidence, made observations, and rooted our conclusions in best scientific practices. Students were eager to think like a Forensic Analyst and learn new techniques that are used in an actual lab. After much discussion, collaborating and brainstorming, students identified which of our crime scene clues would be best to formally test: ink samples found on a handwritten note, liquids spilled at the scene, and fingerprints left behind on various surfaces.

Throughout class, we reiterated the importance of following scientific processes and using deductive reasoning/thinking to make our science-based conclusions. We wanted students to walk away with the understanding that there is always more than what meets the eye… evidence can be broken down into parts (at molecular levels) in order to reveal patterns and relationships between evidence at a crime scene and a suspect. Students were able to see first-hand how important it is to examine all evidence closely, conduct scientific investigations with fidelity, and then use deductive reasoning to eliminate or determine a suspect. I was highly impressed by students all-in attitudes and enthusiasm for our course.

Our first investigation focused on the forensic technique of chromatography which allows for chemical mixtures to be separated out. The second investigation focused on testing the pH properties of liquids. We learned about acidic and basic properties and how all substances fall on the scale from 0 – highly acidic to 14 – alkaline/basic. We tested 3 common liquid substances: lemon juice, water, and milk, and then tested our mystery liquid found spilled at crime scene. We were able to assess its acidic properties and compare it to our sample liquids. The last investigation focused on fingerprints. While we were not able to fully dive into the many complexities of DNA fingerprinting, we were able to explore types of fingerprints and how/why fingerprinting is one of the most reliable techniques for solving mysteries. Students observed their own unique sets of prints, and saw an example of how prints can be dusted and lifted off surfaces at a crime scene.

All in all, our day was packed with lots of hands on learning and collaboration. Students used their findings from their investigations to determine which suspect was guilty! We look forward to the next adventure at SAVY!

At-home ideas –

Conduct your own chromatography experiment

Extract your own DNA at home

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