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Crime Scene Documentation

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Keywords: Photography, Forensics, Crime Scene
Subject(s): Photography, English/Language Arts, Information Skills, Writing, Technology, Social Skills, Science, Math, Chemistry
Grades 7 through 8
School: Tuttle Middle School, Tuttle, OK
Planned By: Jody Maxey
Original Author: Jody Maxey, Tuttle
This lesson will be introduced towards the end of the class to incorporate all the concepts practiced throughout the block. This lesson is photographing and documenting only. There will not be any evidence collection in this lesson.

Introduction: The rookie investigators will be summoned by our principal to investigate the huge mess left in the science lab. We will go to the science lab to take the initial observations of the crime scene. Investigators will use the science lab sketches and photographs taken at the beginning of the block to make some initial observations as to what is and is not different from the "normal" science lab setting.

After the preliminary observations, investigators will gather information leading to "persons of interest." This information will be collected from the principal, other faculty members, and witnesses. This information will be things such as who had access to the lab, who scheduled use of the lab, witnesses, and their statements, etc.

While investigative teams are gathering information, two teams at a time will go to the science lab to photograph and document all evidence found. This evidence will be pre-determined and will be concepts covered throughout the duration of the class. The evidence will be things such as fingerprints (visible and non-visible), "blood" evidence, chromatography, footprints, glass analysis, trajectory, handwriting, and "blood" spatter. Investigators will use their evidence markers to to mark, photograph, and document the items. Documentation will include the location of the evidence, as well as measurements from walls, doors, etc., in addition to measuring actual evidence (footprint length, blood spatter droplets, trajectory angles).

Upon completing the photographing and documenting of evidence, investigators will return to "headquarters" where they will download and print their crime scene pictures to label and analyze with their team members. They will develop a theory as to what happened and possible suspects.

Assessment for this lesson will be based on whether the investigative teams "discovered" all the evidence left and the proper documentation and photographing of that evidence. It will also be based on their verbal briefing presentation to the rest of the investigative teams and myself.
Eventually, with the proper software, I would like to expand from the verbal briefing to creating a visual briefing presentation using some type of presentation software (Slideshow, PowerPoint, etc.).
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
There are so many curriculum areas covered in this lesson. We have the social skills of working together with their investigative team members, written language skills while documenting the evidence, math skills for measurement and trajectory angles, photography and technology skills using cameras, computers, printers, information skills for presenting in front of their peers, and then the basic skills of problem solving and critical thinking.
Where I plan to go with this is to actually collect the evidence after processing the crime scene to create a crime setting from start to finish. This is a little ways down the road due to materials, space, and time availability.
Materials: Slideshow, Flash/USB Drives, Batteries, Camera Bags, Point and Shoot, Mobile Labs