Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Forensic Biology: Day 2 at the Crime Museum

We were excited to finally start looking at our essential question: "To what extent do respective biology sciences and their methods contribute to the field of forensic science?"

We spent the day at the Crime Museum where we were able to look at a few different areas of forensic science.

Forensic Lab

"Today in the Forensics lab we made and analyzed blood spatter, we took and uncovered fingerprints with magnetic powder, and we read and compared alibis from the suspects in our 'crime scene.' For the crime scene we analyzed and pieced together evidence, and later we came to a conclusion and solved the case."
- Selena

"Today we conducted an actual investigation. Fred was murdered and we had to figure out who the killer was using different types of evidence. We analyzed fibers on clothing, fingerprints, and DNA to find out who the killer was. We did a blood spatter experiment while testing what types of patterns certain objects leave behind. We also conducted extensive fingerprint tests using picture frames and magnets." 
- Danny

Blood splatter lab.
Exploring the different types of finger prints.

FYI: Did you know that dogs have "finger prints" like us on their noses? Many mammals have some unique "fingerprint."

We took our own fingerprints.
Looking at phone records to confirm if the
suspects told us the truth.

Tour of the Museum

"Our group spent the day at the Crime and Punishment Museum, and it was very eye opening and educational. While we walked through the actual museum, we could see the punishment types from different stages of history starting as far back as the Dark Ages. These time sections also included some of the most famous and/or dangerous criminals and what crimes they committed. Some sections even had interactive stations which showed how certain criminals broke the law. For example, they had a hacking station, a safe breaking station, a jail breaking station, and more. In the end, we were able to read about the history of the police and what requirements we needed in order to join the force. This museum was very factual and knowledgeable and we certainly learned a lot."
- Kat

Driving simulation for people training to
become cops.

"The following are some of the many sights at the Crime Museum. From the autopsy table to the filming site of America's Most Wanted, there was a lot of history to be seen. Hard to believe there's so much to be learned about crime!"
- Ella

Fact vs. Fiction Lab

"As it turns out, not every single TV crime drama is completely accurate about how they portray their investigations. Lots of TV shows actually sacrifice accuracy for a better looking shot. For example, true crime scene investigators don’t show up to crime scenes in skimpy clothing and start moving things around. TV shows display many incorrect practices the public may be completely unaware of. I think everyone felt very well informed by the end of the session."
- Ellis

"Our guide talked about fact vs. fiction for forensics in media. She explained that in shows like CSI, NCIS, Criminal Minds, etc... they produce effects such as the 'CSI Effect,' that causes people to believe what they see in all the shows. It can have an adverse effect on those in the jury. What happens is that people begin to replace real life forensics with the imaginary ideals that they see in TV. She explained that some of the clothing worn by the actors is wrong, and that they needed to wear clothes like lab coats, normal everyday clothing, gloves, hair nets, and masks to cover their mouths. To explain this to us she showed us different scenes in TV shows. We also took a test on what we knew about forensics."
- Andre

A "pop" quiz to see what we know about
crime scene investigations.

Body Decomposition Lab

"We learned about forensic entomology this afternoon through a case study. We discussed the process of decomposition of body after a person dies. Our goal is to determine the time frame of the victim's death. There are many different types of body decomposition. For example, Rigor Morris is a state of a dead body to remain in a stiff position when a person has been dead for 10-36 hours. By observing the position, we can find out where the victim was killed and approximately how long the victim was dead. Moreover, we learned how to identify different stages of insect development and apply them to determine the time the victim was killed. There are four stages: egg, larva, pupa and adults. We practiced with two species of an insect as evidence. We identified the stage of insect at the crime scene, and then we did some calculations to come to a conclusion. This type of forensic biology helps the investigator to compare the alibis of the suspects in that certain time frame."
- Amy and Lily

Different stages of fly development.

Doing some calculations to determine PMI
(postmortem interval), which is time since
death occurred.

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