What does a medical examiner really do? Is CSI for real?
In this course we will learn how a crime is investigated and how forensic tools are used to gather information about a crime. As we study forensic science, we will investigate and do hands-on lab work on such topics as blood spatters, poisons, fingerprints, hair and fiber samples, tire and shoe treads, forensic anthropology, DNA, autopsies, forensic entomology, arson, ballistics, and voiceprints. Using the skills learned in the laboratory, we will work as teams to investigate an imaginary crime. We will also meet with police detectives, the fire marshal, FBI agents, and experts from the coroner’s office.
We will visit a forensic laboratory to talk with an analyst about how evidence is examined, visit a police station to find out how a suspect is interrogated and booked, and talk with a judge to learn what the law says about the collection of evidence. We will watch videos (feature shows and documentaries) that deal with forensic science, and we will solve crimes with computer simulations. Readings will include books to be used as a reference for laboratory skills, and we will study famous crimes of the past, both solved and unsolved. Finally, we will be traveling to Chicago for several days to explore exhibits related to forensic science.