Freebie Alert! Do Your Students Like to Solve Mysteries?

My students always enjoy an activity where they get to figure something out and defend their ideas. This activity fits the bill perfectly and The best part–> NO PREP for you!

I’m not sure about your school year, but mine has been unusually HECTIC! That’s why I’m excited to offer you this activity that is always a favorite with my students. What are you waiting for? Click below to receive yours today!

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Designing a Prosthetic Hand an Engaging STEM Challenge for Anatomy

What Do You Get When You Cross a Box of Drinking Straws, Yarn, and a Group of Inventive Teenagers? ……. A Prosthetic Hand, of Course! ๐Ÿ™‚

I don’t know about your students, but mine absolutely LOVE a challenge! This year during our Skeletal System unit, I wanted them to have an opportunity to practice labeling the bones of the hand (since this is usually a struggle point for them). We actually did this activity right around Halloween but I think they would have enjoyed it anytime. I used it as a fun “glow” activity! I copied their work on neon paper and brought out my $10 Walmart blacklights that we use for Forensics (THIS is the kind of blacklight I have- I used 3 in my classroom). I also picked up packages of glow stick bracelets and necklaces and we wore them as we worked on the project. (I bought THESE 8 for about $1) It was so much fun!!

Here’s How I Set Things Up

I LOVE using neon with the blacklights! I used neon straws, pipe cleaners, index cards, and paper for the assignment. It looked so cool!

Getting it Started

This is the first STEM project we have done in Anatomy so I made sure in our intro that I stressed the fact that it will definitely take several tries before they come up with a design they will be pleased with and they shouldn’t panic if their hand didn’t work at first. My Honors students had the hardest time!! Interestingly enough, my students who are lower achievers academically were absolute rock starts with this project. I LOVED seeing them excel and show their gifts!

NYT Article

Before we began the activity, I had students skim the NYT article called โ€œHow Robot Hands Are Evolving to Do What Ours Canโ€ to see how this type of engineering technology is helping improve lives. We discussed it briefly and highlighted the importance of designing a prosthetic that could potentially replace a human hand.

The Challenge

This STEM challenge required the hand to have a skeletal base (and they had to label it on their lab sheet), they had to use straws for the bones, and yarn for the tendons. Those were literally the only requirements. They had to design it so that it could pick up a piece of crumpled paper OR a lightweight plastic cup.

If this is something you’d like for your class to do, click the icon below or THIS LINK and head over to my TpT store to grab this activity!

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A Fun Christmas PBL Activity for Forensics!

Case of the Missing Coat: A Christmas PBL Activity for Forensics

CLICK HERE to get it for your Forensics class!

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Case of the Missing Coat: A Christmas Crime Scene PBL for Forensics

What Happens When Santa Realizes His Magic Coat Was Stolen From His Closet? …… He calls 911 and deploys E.L.F.S. (Evidence Locating Forensic Squad)

This time of the year is just wonderful hectic! My students are tired and stressed. I am tired and stressed. Sometimes, this just isn’t a good combination for getting all the things covered that we need to before the holiday breaks. This year, I decided to try something a little different.

This summer, I participated in the Educator’s Symposium, an awesome professional development program presented by Sirchie. It was via Zoom but we had tons of opportunities for interaction. They even delivered the investigative supplies I would be using right to my house!

The sessions were led by professionals in the field of Forensics. I particularly enjoyed the presenter for Trace Evidence. He had worked on many high profile cases with the FBI, many of which we actually study in my classroom. I realized that I wasn’t providing enough opportunities for my students to experience collecting and investigating evidence that was super tiny. In a “normal” year, I don’t ever have enough time to cover Trace Evidence as well as I’d like so I decided to mix things up!

So What Did We Do?

Because I feel like Trace Evidence (hair & fibers) and Impressions (footprints, lip prints, & bitemarks) are some of my weakest areas to teach, I wanted to challenge myself this year to expose my students to more performance-based lab activities instead of the traditional notes and basic “testing labs” that I have done in the past. If you’ve been a follower of this blog for long, you know how much I absolutely LOVE providing my classes with project-based (or problem-based) learning (PBL) scenarios! I think they are one of the BEST ways I can engage all of my students, even the ones who are traditionally uninterested in class (don’t we all have those folks?!?). So, I just knew this would be the avenue I wanted to use for Trace Evidence and Impressions. And, since it’s almost the holidays… I HAD to include Santa! (Plus, Dollar Tree has AMAZING things that I can use in a crime scene…. almost as good as the things they have for Halloween!) I’ll put a list of the items I used for this activity at the end so you can hit up the Dollar Tree for your Forensics activities. It’s my favorite place for supplies!

The Crime Scene…..

911: Hello, this is 911. What is the address of your emergency?

Santa: This is Santa! I live at the North Pole and I just went into my closet and my suit is GONE! How can we have Christmas if I have no magic coat?

911: Sir, calm down. We are sending someone out.

Santa: Don’t just send someone…. Deploy E.L.F.S!

In case you didn’t know, E.L.F.S. stands for Evidence Locating Forensic Squad ๐Ÿ™‚ (or it does for my class lol). I set the stage for this activity by having Christmas music playing today as they came in for class (we also played it on my little bluetooth speaker in the lab as we worked). I arranged my room into groups of 4 or 5 so they just had to sit with the group they chose as their team. Their lab/ activity instructions, forms, and notes were on clipboards in each pod. (Side note: I figured this out after 25 years and it has been a game changer for managing groups in my classroom. It saves tons of time and takes the guesswork out of who is going to work with whom. Works like a charm with my Seniors. I also put their materials on clipboards for them to use. It makes being mobile in the lab or outside at a crime scene super easy and keeps everything together. Plus, they feel so official!)

When everyone had assembled themselves into their teams, I played a short 45 second clip from the film “The Santa Claus” where they deploy E.L.F.S. and introduced their “mission”. I have found, from doing this so long, that if I cover the basics of the activity in the classroom (in a controlled setting), I tend to have more success with students who know what they’re doing and how they’re doing it when we get into the lab. Even though I teach Juniors and Seniors in high school, they still lose their marbles when we go into the lab and forget how to act. It’s crazy how that happens! Anyway, I brief them on their mission and have the jobs, job descriptions, and responsibilities written very plainly in a chart on the front of their lab work. Also, I always have a chart showing the specific responsibilities if their group has fewer (or more) group members than I specified. I do, however, usually cap it at 5 or 6 members. Today, I gave them 5 minutes (I set a timer too!) to decide on which job each member wanted to do, elect a Lead Forensic Investigator to be the spokesperson for the group, and come up with a team name.

The Lab Stations

This PBL covered a TON of Forensic Science standards and objectives! Some standards were related to the basic concepts of Trace Evidence and Impressions, others related to process standards such as:

  • Observation
  • Comparison of unknown to a known standard
  • Collecting and processing evidence
  • Preservation of evidence
  • Chain of custody
  • Crime scene sketching
  • Triangulation of evidence
  • Visualizing evidence using an alternate light source
  • Performing flame tests to distinguish between types of fibers
  • Microscopy
  • Creation of a wet mount slide

The Set Up

Because there is SO much packed into this experience for my students, I decided this time to set up the crime scene in our prep room located between our Biology and Chemistry labs. It was a great controlled space that wasn’t overly large. We also used the storage closet (with the door propped open) as a dark area for visualizing trace evidence using a black light and an alternate light source (ALS) {*In case you don’t know what ALS is- It’s a blue flashlight with an orange filter that makes easily missed trace evidence really pop so it can be collected. It works best in dim light.}

I also designed this activity as a series of 6 stations that could be completed in any order. I’m so glad I did because they only got 3 of the 6 stations completed today in a 90 minute block. I wasn’t really sure how long it would take them, and which stations might require longer, so I’m pleased that they all took about the same amount of time to complete. Next class, they will complete the other 3 stations before they move into the next phase of the PBL. (Preview: The 2nd phase will involve a CER of their theory of the crime based on the evidence they collected and tested. The 3rd phase will involve a STEM component and will count as their midterm.) The stations I used involved stations for observations, creating a wet mount slide of a fiber type, matching lip prints and bitemarks, flame testing, performance tasks (like creating a bindle and packaging evidence), crime scene processing and sketching, and collection of trace evidence. Here are some pictures of the way I set it up:

Lab set up from the front of the room. Traffic cones are evidence markers (Dollar Tree!). The large plastic bags at the front are the evidence (a Christmas stocking) they have to process and collect trace evidence from (lots of glitter, fake fur, fingerprints in Glo Germ powder).

The evidence in those plastic bags.

Processing their evidence for trace with an alternate light source (& a black light). I set up an “annex” in the supply closet so it would be dark enough to see their trace. evidence.

Fiber testing station. I tried to get all the same color so they wouldn’t get sidetracked by a sample just because of its color. (Yarn samples from Dollar Tree, cotton fat quarter fabric from Walmart, wool from Hobby Lobby).

Set up for the Fiber Observation Station. Student teams had to perform observations then make a wet mount slide of one sample. Groups all did different samples. I asked them to leave their slide under the microscope and in focus so the groups could see all the samples (without having to make ALL the slides). I had to spread out the microscopes because we only have 2 outlets at each lab bench.

Flame tests of our fibers

The door to Santa’s closet (& the entrance to the crime scene). Dollar Tree sign for the win!

The basic crime scene set up. Glad I didn’t put my black lights up from Halloween lol! Big candy canes, tinsel, Santa hats, Christmas glasses and plate all from Dollar Tree ๐Ÿ™‚

I actually put a Christmas brownie with a bite taken out of it on this plate. I love how the fingerprints really show up with the black light! I used some Glo Germ powder I found in my closet. It worked great! The green Grinch fur also looked cool with the black light.

Dollar Tree has literally the cutest Christmas plates and glasses. The glasses say Mr. & Mrs. with little Santa hats. I really can’t wait to see what sort of theory for this crime that my students come up with!

Lip prints to match from the lipstick print on the glass at the crime scene. I also laminated these on unruled index cards. It worked a lot better than I expected! You could still see the details of the print and no worries about smudging the lipstick print.

Bitemark analysis to see if they can match the bite taken out of the brownie to a dental impression (in a foam plate). I got the smallest size foam plates and put them into sandwich baggies so there wouldn’t be a risk that anyone would touch someone else’s saliva on the plate (yuck!) ๐Ÿ™‚ I liked that students could handle the plates, look at them closely through the bag, and also measure them easily if they needed to.

Fur for one of the stations. I laminated it with my little Scotch laminator. I think it really makes the fur/fibers pop!…. Plus, it’s easy for students to handle and observe closely. This brown & black fur was taken from the top of a Dollar Tree stocking. I think it looks like reindeer fur don’t you? ๐Ÿ™‚ Green (Grinch) fur was from a stocking from Hobby Lobby I found on sale.

Footprints for the crime scene. I used spray adhesive and sprinkled a little fake glitter snow on the green Grinchy ones. These were fun with the black light.

Sparkly snowy Grinchy feet! I can’t wait to see what my students come up with as an explanation for this struggle lol

What’s Next?

Phase 2

Student teams will complete their final three stations during our next class meeting. Then, after our Thanksgiving break, I will start them on Phase 2 of this PBL, the development of their theory of the crime.

I generally have them state their theory of the crime in CER (Claim, Evidence, Reasoning) format:

  • Claim– (WHO?)–> Their theory of the crime; who did it?
  • Evidence– (WHAT?) –> They will provide a specified number of pieces of evidence that support their theory of who committed the crime
  • Reasoning– (WHY?) –> For each piece of evidence, they will state exactly why the evidence proves their suspect is guilty of the crime.

Phase 3

I anticipate Phase 3 of this PBL to involve a STEM component where they propose a design. I also think that it will count in place of their midterm exam because it will involve a lot of work. I am in the process of writing this part as we won’t be starting it until around December 1st. ๐Ÿ™‚

Cool Crime Scene Supplies from Dollar Tree

I promised a list of things I used for this crime scene so you could use it with your students. Most of my supplies always come from Dollar Tree. I do get some things from Walmart and Hobby Lobby if I can’t find them at DT. For this crime scene, I bought these things:

  • Santa hats and stockings (I used the traditional red ones for trace evidence for each group and one with fake fur at the top as my “reindeer fur”. The green Grinch stocking came from Hobby Lobby on sale).
  • Sign for closet (I made the closet sign, colored it with marker because I was out of colored ink in my printer, laminated it, and taped it over the original text; Grinch sign was from Hobby Lobby on sale).
  • Big candy canes, jingle bells, & tinsel (DT)
  • Little traffic cones (DT- 3 in a pack in the toy section)- loved these for evidence markers!
  • Fake snow and glitter for footprints and trace evidence on stockings (DT)
  • Fiber samples (yarn from DT, cotton material from Walmart, & wool from Hobby Lobby)
  • Footprints (boots, Grinch feet, elf, and hoof prints) I drew & copied on colored paper
  • Black lights ($10 at Walmart)
  • Alternate light source (blue light with orange filter) I got from the Sirchie pd
  • Christmas plate and Santa glasses (DT)
  • I stole borrowed the crucible tongs and metal rack from our Chemistry lab ๐Ÿ™‚
  • I also made a bunch of cute labels and laminated them so I could re-use them

For this and other PBLs I use with my classes, please follow me on TpT

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What’s Wrong With Andy Atkins? You Be the Doctor in this CER Activity using a Digital Interactive Notebook

My A & P Students LOVE Putting Themselves into the Role of a Physician!

In this latest activity, I had my students play the role of medical students to diagnose an ambiguous respiratory ailment in Andy Atkins. We started out with this slide as our warm-up when students entered the classroom.

They LOVED it and organized their medical teams quickly.

I asked them to get chrome books and, after they were settled, they logged into Schoology (we switched this year from Google Classroom. I don’t know how I feel about it yet). From here, they examined his medical records in a digital interactive notebook format….

This is a screenshot of their digital interactive notebook

This is the first time my students have used a digital interactive notebook in my class. There was a little bit of a learning curve, but they caught on really quickly. A couple of quick hints if you’re new to digital interactive notebooks:

1. Digital interactive notebooks are simply Google Slide presentations that have interactive links to various items/pages within the slide show. For example, the tabs on the sides of the notebook link to the sections within the medical records.

2. The links to the Table of Contents and the tabs on the sides ONLY work when students have the Google Slide show in “Presentation” mode.

3. The last tab (Patient CER) contains a section for students to type their answers into tables. Students can only type into the slide show when it is NOT in “Presentation” mode (confusing, huh? lol).

4. Navigation within the notebook includes arrows at the bottom for “previous page” and “next page”. The house icon at the top of each page returns students to the Table of Contents page.

5. The Table of Contents page contains hot links to each section listed.


Student medical teams were asked to evaluate 6 different respiratory diseases or disorders in order to diagnose their patient. They were given histological images, x-rays, and information for each of the six possibilities. They were also provided Andy Atkins’ symptoms, chest x-ray, and lung sample slide image. Even though I provided my students with a paper copy of their assignment, my students really liked having full color tissue sample slides and clear x-ray pictures that were in their digital notebooks. Once they decided on their diagnosis and reasons for choosing it, I asked them to transfer their work onto a large paper so we could have a better visual aid for discussion.

I did have to keep them on task a little so we wouldn’t run out of time!

The Discussion

I used this with a smaller honors class so we opted to do a gallery walk and have one medical team member explain the diagnosis and the evidence/ reasoning to support it. I thought it was interesting that the class was divided equally between two diagnoses. This class is SUPER competitive and really gets into debate so I stopped them here (before it got out of hand lol). We also had a safety drill at the end of the block we did this activity so it cut us a little short as well. I think next time I do this activity, I will have the groups debate their diagnosis choice and try to come to a single conclusion and decide on a treatment plan for Mr. Atkins.


My students really enjoyed this activity, especially using the digital interactive notebook as Mr. Atkins’ medical record. I think that it is always a valuable scientific learning experience when students have an opportunity to state their idea, examine evidence to see if it is logical, and justify their reasoning to come to a conclusion. I’ll definitely use this activity again!


Please visit this link to my TpT store if you’d like to purchase this activity for your class.

Click to visit my website!

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Growing as a STEM Educator- My Journey Year 2

Having fun at NSTA in Atlanta!

2022-2023 School Year

This year, I’m so excited to have been chosen to participate in the Research Experiences for STEM Educators and Teachers (RESET) through the Army Educational Outreach Program. It is an intensive, year-long program that offers authentic research opportunities in STEM. I am participating along with around 60 other educators from states across the country.

As part of this program, I was asked to create a Google site to document my process. Each session, we will be creating an action plan that we will incorporate into our classroom. These action plans will be based on one of the STEM Teaching Tools. If you’d like to see a list of all the STEM Teaching Tools, please click the link HERE. If you’d like to follow along with my learning journey during this process, please click HERE or the picture below.
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Growing as a STEM Educator- My Journey Year 1

2021-2022 School Year

Despite having been an educator for more than 25 years, I still get so excited when I get to learn new things to use in my classroom. Last year, I earned National STEM Certification through the National Institute for STEM Education.

It was a great program– Completely online, 38 modules competency-based. I was able to demonstrate proficiency in 15 teacher actions and create a portfolio of my learning.

I worked with a STEM coach who was awesome! I also loved that I could work at my own pace, in my own time. I used many examples from my own classroom to maximize my growth as a teacher. Cost was $625 for the program.

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Zombie Wound Healing Lab REVISED for 2021!

What do you get when you cross petroleum jelly, food coloring/fake blood, toilet tissue, and cocoa powder? A fun, engaging lab activity for your Integumentary System unit, of course!

My students sometimes think studying the Integumentary System can be a little boring so this year we tried something different– We created gross, realistic looking wounds to explore wound healing.

First Step: Easy Video Instructions

We watched this video before going into the lab. I think it does an excellent job of explaining the process. It also helped my students visualize what the process looked like.

Second Step: In the Lab:

Students worked in partners and were given a choice of locations for the wound they were to create on their partner. There were 6 location choices (on arms and legs only) that were written using anatomical directional terms. For example, “the wound was inferior to the antecubital region of the right arm and superior to the phalanges”. They also had a choice of wound lengths. Their lab sheet also asked them what stage of wound healing their wound was in currently. When I checked the lab groups, they had to tell me exactly which wound (location and size) they created. I think it really helped them practice the anatomical terminology in a practical setting.

Side Note– Fake blood works better than red food coloring in making the petroleum jelly mixture. I put a small amount into a little bathroom cup and used craft sticks to mix. I also gave teams a small paper plate with cocoa powder on it to minimize the mess in the lab. The little tubes of gel fake blood work the best for the finishing touches of active bleeding ๐Ÿ™‚

Here are some addition photos of our “wounds”

The students LOVED it!! (and some really got creative). I’ll definitely be doing this again next year!

UPDATED for 2021:

Click HERE to download the Zombie Wound Healing Lab student lab sheet (in a Google Doc) that my classes used this year. The link is in a Google Doc and will require you to make a copy for your drive.

To access the “Wound Healing” presentation I use with my students after lab to help them answer their lab questions, click HERE to visit my website.

New Pics from 2021
Visit my website and my TpT store for more activities

Posted in activity, Anatomy & Physiology, Forensics, Teaching | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Pink Eye of Death– A Medical Mystery

Your Mission

Step 1: Listen to Dr. Judy Melinek describe this baffling case from the link above (or read the transcript below):

Hereโ€™s the case: A 30-year-old man goes into an emergency room and complains of a headache and neck pain. He is sent home with ibuprofen and told that it is a tension headache. He returns a week later with red eyes (conjunctivitis), continued headache, neck pain and nausea. He dies in the hospital shortly after admission and the case is referred to the medical examiner, because the death is sudden and unexpected. The only significant medical history is that he had been shot in the face as a teenager and is blind in the right eye.

Autopsy findings: meningitis (pus infection of the brain) with Staphylococcus aureus (a bacteria that usually infects wounds), and pus extending to the gunshot wound tract and around the eyes (pink eye).

Source: Medical Mystery: The Pink Eye of Death from ScienceFriday

Additional information: The person who shot the victim 12 years ago was convicted of 1st degree assault and sentenced to mandatory 10 years in jail because a firearm was involved in the altercation.  This is a Class B felony under Alabama law. 

Step 2: Form your Forensic Investigation Team

Your Mission: It is up to your team to decide if this is a delayed homicide or a natural death and present your findings to the District Attorney to determine if charges will be brought against the person who originally shot the victim.

Your team is responsible for:

a. Developing a theory / hypothesis of what caused this man’s death (either delayed homicide or natural death). You must also provide a rationale (reasons) for your theory.

b. Designing an experiment to test the validity of your hypothesis

c. Evaluating the data from your experimental results

d. Creating a model to illustrate your theory & the results of your experiment

e. Drawing a conclusion that you will present to the District Attorney (in a Google Slides presentation) to determine if charges will be brought against the person who originally shot the victim.

Team Members & Responsibilities:

Team MemberJob DescriptionResponsibility
Lead Forensic Investigator1. Oversees project
2. Makes sure team responsibilities are followed & communicates w/teacher
3. Develops theory of cause of death
4. Provides rationale supporting theory for final report
Theory w/Rationale

Slides 4 & 7

Medical Examiner1. Performs autopsy
2. Researches medical issues associated with findings from autopsy
3. Interprets medical findings from autopsy
4. Provides analysis of medical findings for final report
Medical Examiner’s Report w/Analysis

Slide 3

Forensic Lab Technician1. Designs experiment
2. Carries out experiment to test theory
3. Helps create model to illustrate theory
4. Summarizes experiment methodology & findings for final report
Experiment Methodology w/Results

Slides 2 & 5

Evidence Collection Technician1. Records data from experiment
2.Takes careful notes during experiment
3. Creates a model to illustrate theory
4. Summarizes description of model for final report
Notes & Experimental Data w/Model

Slides 1 & 6

Step 3 Design & Perform an Experiment to Test Your Theory/ Hypothesis

Whatever your theory/ hypothesis (delayed homicide OR natural causes) about how the victim died, your team will need to design some sort of test which will give you scientific evidence (data) to either support or refute your assumption. You will evaluate your results and decide whether your theory is valid (based on the data) or if you need to go back and re-evaluate your original theory.

The Forensic Lab Technician and Evidence Collection Technician are primarily responsible for this part, however, EVERYONE should work as a team to share ideas and decide what kind of testing or experimentation would give you the information you need in order to prove (or disprove) your idea of what happened to this man.

Careful notes should be taken on the results of the testing because they will be included in the evidence which will be presented to the District Attorney.

It is possible that your evidence evaluation could be used in court by the DA if this case comes to trial. Be clear, concise, and explain things simply so that jurors of any background can easily understand the evidence and what it means.

Step 4 Create a Model to Illustrate Your Theory

Since juries (& most people, really) understand things more easily if they can visualize what you are talking about, your group is responsible for creating some kind of model to illustrate your theory of how he died. (Helpful tip- A 3 dimensional model would be an awesome way to represent the brain ๐Ÿง ) You can use any materials you’d like, even paper or poster board. I have some supplies that I will gladly share with you.

Step 5 Presentation of Findings to the District Attorney

Your team will need to prepare a Google Slides presentation of your theory to present to the District Attorney. Since the evidence that you provide will potentially determine whether or not someone is charged with murder, it is important that your presentation is clear, concise, and persuasive.

Your presentation should include:

Slide #1– Title slide with your team members’ names and their job. (Completed by Evidence Technician)

Slide #2– Summary of the Case (Just the facts) (Completed by Forensic Lab Technician)

Slide #3– Medical Examiner’s Findings (Completed by Medical Examiner)

  • State what the autopsy showed. Use clear, understandable language. You must include a graphic/photo that represents the findings. Provide labels in your graphic/ photo so everyone can understand the complicated medical findings.

Slide #4– Your Theory and Rationale (show how the medical findings support your theory) (Completed by Lead Forensic Investigator)

  • State your theory. Should charges be brought for delayed murder or was it a natural death? Include the rationale (reasons) for your theory. Connect the medical findings to your theory. “Our theory is….. based on the following findings from the autopsy: 1…2…3…etc” Be exact with your words. Connect the theory and medical reasons clearly so someone from any background can see your reasoning.

Slide #5– Experiment Methodology & Results (Completed by Forensic Lab Technician)

  • Explain the experiment you performed on the victim in order to gather data. What did you do? Did you take tissue samples? Perform microscopic examination of samples? Etc. Tell what tests you did AND the results from those tests. Be clear and concise so jurors from all backgrounds could understand if this is used in court.

Slide #6– Description of your model (Completed by Evidence Technician)

  • Show a picture/ graphic AND explain the model you made to represent your theory. This would ideally be something that would be shown to jurors as the DA explained the case to them. It would be cool if your model was 3D but it could be a graphic of some sort. Be creative and neat but, above all, make sure it gets the idea across in a simple, clear way! Remember that if this happened to be shown to jurors, they wouldn’t understand the case the way you do. Be clear.

Slide #7– Conclusion/ Recommendation (Completed by Lead Forensic Investigator)

  • State the reasons why your theory is supported (or not supported) by the data from your experiment. What does your evidence recommend? Should the DA bring charges or not? Be persuasive in your evaluation of the evidence! Restate the theory, tell how your findings support/ refute this theory, DRAW A CONCLUSION, & make a recommendation to the DA (bring charges or not).

Note to Teachers:

I designed this activity for my Forensic Science students to “practice” skills related to using the scientific method. It is based on an actual case! Every science teacher knows that the scientific method isn’t a clear list of steps, but more of a logical way to approach the solution to a problem. This activity is designed to help students practice this logical approach. I never have my students “list” the steps of the scientific method. In fact, I feel these “steps” are fluid as theories/hypotheses are developed, then discarded or revised as results from tests or challenges demonstrate they aren’t the best fit.

I am doing this activity with my students this week (week before Spring Break so pray for me ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚). I only have 5 traditional, in-person students in my classroom (and 23 at home virtual). This will only be done with my in-person kids. I will post this project as a PDF download here as well as on my website under the Forensics tab. I will also post the forms I used and the rubric for grading so stay tuned to this space!

Update: I did this activity with my students today and they loved it! It only took us one block (90 min) and they were able to get everything done, including the Google slides part. The AP English teacher came in and played our District Attorney. She had a lot of good questions for them and they really had to be persuasive in their argument to convince her๐Ÿ˜Š I’ll definitely be using this activity again with my Forensics class next year.

To download a PDF of this activity, please click the link below or visit the RESOURCES section of my website.

Look for this badge on my website

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Need a Cute Activity for Valentine’s Day? Create an “Anatomically Correct” Valentine!! Now with UPDATED DIAGRAMS!


Need a Cute Valentine’s Day Activity?

How about Creating an Anatomically Correct Valentine Heart?

I developed this several years ago and always used it with my Anatomy and Physiology classes.ย  They loved it!ย  Some years, I had the students draw their hearts for the Valentine.ย  Often, many complained because they said they “couldn’t even draw a circle” (Sound familiar?) .ย  This year, I decided to put together a package to make it easier for them (and me).

How does this activity work?

I designed this activity to use 2 sheets of paper 1 sheet of paper copied front and back.ย  This is the interior:


This is the backside:


Copy the pages front & back then fold the sheet in half.ย  The anterior face of the heart should be on the front of the card and the posterior face of the heart should be on the back of the card. The inside of the card has the cross-section of the heart on the left hand side and a text box on the right side.ย  I always have my students create a rhyme, limerick, or haiku (related to the heart) for the inside of their card.ย  The outside can be trimmed closely to the heart shape, or left as a rectangle so a sentiment can be written on the outside as well.

I give points for creativity and following the prescribed instructions.ย  We usually do this activity a week or so before Valentine’s Day so we can decorate with them.ย  This year, we will probably just make them as an activity on Valentine’s Day.

Here are some examples of cute sayings I found online that could be used on the inside

This activity can also be used as a review for the parts of the heart if students are responsible for labeling the diagrams as well as creating the Valentines.

Here is the link to the Anatomically Correct Valentine Heart Activity in my TPT store:

Modifications to this Activity- 3Dimensional Heart

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Modifications to this Activity- 3Dimensional Heart

I also created a separate activity bundle of Oversized Diagrams (that also includes the Valentine activity) that can serve as a review for the parts of the heart.ย  The keys are included for labeling the diagrams.

Use as a 3D study tool

  • Color and label the external anterior and posterior surfaces of the heart
  • Color and label the internal cross-section view of the heart
  • Use in creating a Stop-Motion video
  • Use to trace the flow of blood through the heart (use red/blue arrows or yarn)
  • Use to review basic heart anatomy (keys to diagrams are included)

Flexible activity makes it easy to differentiate assignments!

Here is a link to the Oversized Heart Diagrams which includes the Valentine’s Activity in my TPT ย

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