3. Student Learning Map

  • Topic:01 - Forensics 101
  • Subject(s):Science
  • Days:15
  • Grade(s):11, 12
Key Learning:

Forensic investigators recognize, document, collect, and organize evidence left at the scene of a crime. But realize that many factors affect observation skills such as emotion, perception and recall skills in obtaining eyewitness accounts.

Unit Essential Question(s):

What skills are necessary for a forensic scientist to thoroughly investigate a crime?


Observation Skills

Students should understand the tools used by a forensic investigator such as observation, analytical skills and deductive reasoning.

Students should compare and contrast the factors that can affect a person's observations or point of view and discuss ways to improve observation skills.

HOTS Analyzing perspectives, inductive reasoning or error analysis could be used to address the ET LEQs.


Eyewitness Accounts

Students should understand that eyewitness accounts have been responsible for many false convictions and that the Innocence Project using DNA evidence has overturned many of those convictions.

Students should realize how to be a good observer by examining the crime scene environment systematically, observing even trivial details, observing objectively (without interpretation), and taking notes and photographing when possible.


Crime Scene Investigation

Students should understand how a crime scene is processed using the 7 S's and identify who participates in the analysis of the evidence collected.

Students should analyze the steps involved in establishing a chain of custody.

Lesson Essential Question(s):

How do forensic scientists use observation, analytical skills and deductive reasoning to solve cases?


What influence does a person's point of view have on their perception?


What strategies can a person use to improve their observation skills?

Lesson Essential Question(s):

How are eyewitness accounts sometimes useful and sometimes harmful in determine what happened in a crime?


What strategies do forensic investigators use to evaluate a crime scene?

Lesson Essential Question(s):

How do investigators work together to secure crime scenes and to solve crimes?


What are the essential steps of collecting evidence?


Types of Evidence

Students should be able to compare and contrast direct and circumstantial evidence to understand the significance of each to Locard's principle of exchange.

Students should understand how class and individual evidence each help solve crimes.

Students should be able to recognize that evidence provided in a reconstruction of a staged crime scene doesn't match the testimony of the witness.

Lesson Essential Question(s):

What similarities and differences exist between direct and circumstantial evidence?


How do forensic scientists use class and individual evidence to solve crimes?


How would you recognize a staged crime scene if you saw one?

Lesson Essential Question(s):
Lesson Essential Question(s):
Additional Information:


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Acquisition Lesson:

Extending Thinking Lesson:

Vocabulary Report

  • Perception -

    Interpreting information received from the senses.

  • Crime-scene investigation -

    A multidisciplinary approach in which the scientific and legal professionals work together to solve a crime.

  • Circumstantial evidence -

    Evidence used to imply a fact, but not prove it directly.

  • Eyewitness -

    A person who has seen someone or something and can communicate these facts.

  • Fact -

    A statement or assertion of information that can be verified.

  • Class evidence -

    Material that connects an individual or thing to a certain group.

  • Observation -

    What a person perceives using his or her senses.

  • Chain of custody -

    The documented and unbroken transfer of evidence.

  • Direct evidence -

    Evidence that proves an alleged fact such as an eyewitness account of a crime.

  • Primary crime scene -

    The location where the crime took place.

  • Deductive reasoning -

    Deriving the consequences from the facts using a series of logical steps.

  • Logical -

    A conclusion drawn from assumptions and known facts.

  • Opinion -

    Personal belief founded on judgement rather than on direct experience or knowledge.

  • Individual evidence -

    A kind of evidence that identifies a particular person or thing.

  • Analytical skills -

    The ability to identify a concept or problem, to isolate its component parts, to organize information for decision making, to establish criteria for evaluation, and to draw appropriate conclusions.

  • Secondary crime scene -

    A location other than the primary crime scene, but that is in some way related to the crime, where evidence is found.

  • First responder -

    The first police officer to arrive at a crime scene.

  • Trace evidence -

    Small but measurable amounts of physical or biological material found at a crime scene.

  • Paper bindle -

    A folder paper used to hold trace evidence.

  • Crime-scene reconstruction -

    A hypothesis of the sequence of events from before the crime was committed through its commission.