CSI: Moosonee

CSI: Moosonee was a project I worked on while teaching in Moosonee.  My biology and science courses would combine with the law class and participate in a 2 or 3 half-day activity, CSI: Moosonee.  We repeated this activity for a few years , it proved to be a big hit! 🙂

Document used for activity: CSI Book
Small groups were formed of approximately 4 students.  Two from the biology class and two from the law class.  These groups would arrive on the “crime scence” (a body/victim set up by the teachers) to collect evidence and begin the investigation.  From there, the teams would follow clues/links to various people.  These people were often staff members (Librarian, Special Education Teacher, etc.).  They would have information to provide the teams if they asked the right questions.  They also had on them samples of their “blood”, “fingerprints”, “fibres of hair”, etc.  If asked, they were provided to the teams.

The investigation part usually lasted the first half-day of the activity.  It involved all sorts of interview skills, evidence collection.  The law class was in charge of interviews and ensuring that all the laws were followed.  The team members from the biology class were in charge of ensuring evidence was collected properly (ziploc baggies labeled, tweezers used, gloves, etc.).

The second day was in the lab.  Here, the biology class was in charge of lab safety and following procedures.  All the blood samples were tested, fingerprint analysis completed, hair samples matched under the microscope, etc.  Then, groups had to complete the investigation log (worksheets provided) and decide on who their suspect is.

The third day was a mock trial and usually held a week or so later to allow the law class to prepare.  A jury was selected, some of the staff members who were witnesses or who provided information were called in, the suspect is called and a few biology students are called in as experts.

From the teachers point of view, the activity requires finding a place to set up the “victim” that is out of the way (we scared a poor janitor half to death when he thought the body was real).  Corn syrup and food coloring makes excellent blood and Good Will makes a great place to find clothes to dress the victim (it gets ruined with corn syurp.  A wig, gloves and shoes make the body realistic.  Stuff the clothes with plastic bags or news paper and find a “head” – usually the biology department has good dummies that are plastic and washable.  Plant evidence (hair fibre, blood, fingerprints, etc.) on the body.  Also, have a witness or a friend of the victim at the scene to question and get their next clues from (to determine who else to go and interview).

We found that using Crime Scene Kits from Boreal Science was the easiest.  They have 2 or 3 available (we used a different one each year) and cost about $100 each.  These provided the hair samples, blood samples and a basis for our crime.  The first time we made all the solutions and samples ourselves.  It was a waste of time if these kits are available.

Feel free to ask any questions. Great way to combine the law and biology!

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