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Who stole the Halloween candy?

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Keywords: fingerprinting, evidence, CSI, Halloween crime
Subject(s): Life Science, Podcasting, Video
Grades 4 through 6
NETS-S Standard:
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
  • Technology Operations and Concepts
View Full Text of Standards
School: Amboy Elementary School, N Little Rock, AR
Planned By: Elena Reyes Lovins
Original Author: Elena Reyes Lovins, N Little Rock
Objectives: The learner will analyze fingerprints and teeth impressions to help solve a case. The learner will document by video and voice the processing of a crime scene. The learner will create a video and podcast report of their findings.

Materials Needed:
• Strips of plastic containing fingerprints
• Baby Powder
• Small paint brushes
• Inkpad
• Paper
• Tape
• Disposable gloves
• Small piece (about 4” by 4”) of dark-colored construction paper
• Magnifying glass
• Ruler
• brown envelopes for evidence
• Foam plates
• Chocolate bar
• Flip Video
• Digital Voice Recorder

*Lessons on fingerprinting and teeth impressions would have been taught before this lesson. This lesson would be a lab applying information learned from previous lessons.
1. Before the activity, prepare six or seven strips of lightweight plastic (such as that used for overheads) that contain fingerprints of one of the faculty members. Be sure that the strips do not have any fingerprints on them before the faculty member handles them. Also have the same faculty member take a bite out of a mini-chocolate bar, being sure to open the chocolate bar (fingerprints on wrapper).
2. Have the “crime” scene set up ahead a time as well.
3. Have the principal come to the class upset about all the Halloween candy being STOLEN and EATEN! Students are to take their journals, digital voice recorder, and Video Cameras to the crime scene.
4. Students sketch the scene and then begin to work. Gloves are placed and evidence is labeled. Have one student be the assigned videographer and tape the crime science and evidence. Another student will record what is being done step-by-step of the agents, any thoughts of who the culprit could be, etc…
5. Students will collect evidence (wrapper, partial candy bar) and take it back to the lab for testing. (All the while a student is videotaping and another recording step by step voice).
6. Divide students into two groups. One will analyze the fingerprints while the other the teeth impressions.
Group One: Students will dust the wrapper for fingerprints using the baby powder, paint brushes, and tape. Student will then analyze the fingerprints and compare them to the possible suspects (fingerprints were taken ahead of time). Have students record (by video or digital voice) the process of fingerprinting and the comparison of the prints.
Group Two: Students will look at the teeth impressions in the candy bar under the magnifying glass and compare them to the teeth impression of the possible suspects (teeth impressions taken ahead of time from the foam plates).
7. Students will analyze the test results and come to the an evidence based conclusion of who stole the Halloween candy!
8. Students will divide into groups. One group will create a video with the video taping while another will create a podcast from the recordings of the day.
9. Students will send a video and podcast report to the principal of their findings.

Students correctly dusted for finger prints and compared them.
Students correctly compared teeth impressions.
Students podcast and video report of process and information to support their findings.

Cross-Curriculum Ideas
English Language Arts: Write up the Police Report, Art: Sketch the crime scene
Materials: Digital Voice Recorders, Flip Video, Flash Memory Camcorders, MP3 Players, Podcasting
Other Items: 1 dispoable gloves, $5.00 each, total of $5.00
1 ink pad, $1.99 each, total of $1.99
1 baby powder, $1.00 each, total of $1.00
1 package of foam plates, $3.00 each, total of $3.00
1 bag of snack size Hershey bars, $3.00 each, total of $3.00
1 small paint brushes, $3.00 each, total of $3.00
1 package of brown envelopes, $3.00 each, total of $3.00