The National Science Teachers Association has partnered with Court TV to develop free forensic science curriculum units for middle and high school teachers. The units will enable students to learn science by solving mysteries.
“Teachers are always looking for effective ways to help students see how science is relevant to everyday life,” observed John Penick, NSTA’s president. “The forensic units are powerful new tools we can use to excite students about science and to submerge them in hands-on scientific investigations.”
The “Cafeteria Caper,” the new high school unit, takes students on an investigation to identify the culprit or culprits who vandalized a school cafeteria. Students work as investigators to conduct enzyme tests, run hair analyses, and learn how to analyze DNA, chromosomes, and blood. This curriculum enables students to develop basic skills in observation and data collection and analysis; learn the properties of organic molecules; identify uses for chemical indicators; comprehend the structure of hair and how it is analyzed, as well as learn about and perform activities involving scientific inquiry.
The curriculum includes an overview of Forensics in the Classroom (FIC), Court TV’s award-winning educational science initiative developed in partnership with the American Academy of Forensic Science. The FIC was launched on Court TV’s website in 2002 as the first, free standards-based forensic science curriculum for high school science teachers. The curriculum also includes three independent lab units that each contain at least one experiment, handouts, and step-by-step directions for teachers. Information and definitions of forensic terms and frequently asked questions are also included in the curriculum.
It’s Magic, the new middle level forensic science unit, enables students to act as investigators to help Detective Woodward solve a missing dog mystery. Students work at identifying the perpetrator by performing pH tests, hair analysis, and paper chromatography. The curriculum enables students to analyze and synthesize several pieces of data; understand the importance of laboratory procedures, and learn scientific inquiry.
Teachers can access the new forensic science curricula at http://www.courttv.com/forensics_curriculum.