Evaluation of Bloodstain Patterns Project Authentic Learning for Forensics!

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Students Become Blood Spatter Experts

My students love Forensics because they get to do activities that are authentic. Forget just reading about how Criminalists process crime scenes…. In Forensics, my students take it to another level and actually ARE Criminalists and they LOVE it!

We actually just finished this project last week and had “court” Monday and Tuesday.  For this project, my students were divided into groups of 6 (I have 24-25 students in my Forensics classes this year).  Each student was an expert in a field and had a job (complete with job description to keep things equal) within the group:

The group then had to decide upon a “story” they would illustrate using bloodstain patterns that they created (at least 1 stain had to be a medium velocity).  I supplied the “murder weapons” as well as various accessories (butcher paper & food service gloves*cheap from Sams!*, paint brushes, pipettes, spray bottles, etc) they used to recreate high, medium, and low velocity spatter.

I’ve found that the more realistic I can be with their assignments, the better participation and “buy in” I have from my students.  So, I always create real-world forms/ reports for each of the experts to go along with their specific responsibilities. Once student groups got their “story” illustrated, they submitted all of their forms/reports to the “crime lab” (aka me).

Since I have 2 classes of Forensics, I let the “stories” from one class become the “unknown” that my other class investigated.  As part of the investigation, students were expected to calculate the angle of incidence for 15 blood drops in a medium velocity bloodstain.  Then, they used string to create a model of the blood droplet’s projected path.  This string was then attached to a stationary object (we used big cardboard shipping tubes that I saved).  Once all the blood droplet paths were modeled, the overall area of convergence was easily determined from the location that the majority of strings crossed.  img_2445Once the model was created, groups had to examine the reports and other paperwork submitted by the group who created the spatter in order to determine whether the story was consistent with their analysis or not. clip bloodstain pattern slide

Groups prepared a short presentation via Google Slides for our “court” day.

Awesome Sites for Additional Research

https://www.bloodspatter.com/bloodstain-tutorial

http://www.forensicsciencesimplified.org/blood/principles.html

https://www2.fbi.gov/hq/lab/fsc/backissu/april2009/standards/2009_04_standards01.htm

Analyze a practice case at https://bloodspatter.com/analyze-a-case

Explore a career as a Blood Spatter Analyst https://www.thebalancecareers.com/bloodstain-pattern-analyst-job-information-974465

Overall, this has to be one of my favourite projects for my Forensics class to do.  It really involves them in authentic,cross-curricular learning.  To purchase this entire project (including all instructions, forms, and alternative enrichment assignments), please visit my TpT store at

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About Edgy Instruction

Science Teacher (Biology, AP Biology, and Forensic Science), Anatomy Professor, and former Instructional coach.
This entry was posted in Forensics, Project Based Learning PBL, Teaching and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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