This unit has been developed for a middle school (grades 6-8) science class. It is appropriate for general science, science-technology-society (STS), or biotechnology classes. Biology and chemistry are important components for this unit.

The unit has been designed with an emphasis on laboratory activities. There is a series of short lectures followed by the labs. Each lesson is based on a 40-45 minute class.

Suggested lecture notes are included for teacher use. These notes should be adapted for the grade and ability level of the students. The lessons could be easily adapted to a block schedule. In addition, the lessons could be adapted for higher level classes by presenting more in-depth lectures and including additional unknown samples for the lab exercises.

"Crime Scene" scenarios have been provided for each activity. These appear in the anticipatory set of each section's lesson plan. The "crimes" all take place in school settings. Teachers who feel these secnarios might inspire mischief on the part of their students should, of course, modify the "crimes" accordingly. Different scenarios could also be used to match the dynamics of a particular class.

The unit final is a project which will require cooperative groups to use their prior knowledge to collect and analyze evidence from a "crime scene."

There are several possible uses for this lesson including, but not limited to:

· an introduction to the scientific method, the microscope, laboratory procedures, and maintaining laboratory notes.
· an introduction to genetics and DNA.
· an application of DNA technology
· an "in between" unit before or after a vacation
· an end of the year final unit.

In addition to the web presentation, there are printable Adobe Acrobat files for the student handouts and rubrics. These are available from the individual lesson elements.

Unit Overview


1. Science Standard and Benchmark 4: Level III, Number 4.

2. Science Standard and Benchmark 12: Level III, Number 1-8.


This unit includes 20 lessons grouped into nine sections. For each section, we present a lesson plan, lecture notes, lab handouts, and homework activities. In addition, there are grading rubrics available for each activity type. The individual sections are as follows:

Lessons 1 & 2: Comparison of Toolmarks and Casting
Lessons 3 & 4: Examination of Fibers
Lessons 5-7: Fingerprinting
Lessons 8 & 9: Density of Glass Fragments
Lessons 10-12: Web Quest on Genetics, DNA, and Blood Typing
Lessons 13 & 14: Soil Analysis
Lessons 15 & 16: Ink Analysis by Thin Layer Chromatography
Lesson 17: Review Game
Lessons 18-20: Lab Practical (Mock Crime Scene Analysis)

Suggested Grading:

Lab Handouts - 25 points each - Handouts Rubric
Homework - 10 points each - Homework Rubric
Web Quest - 30 points - Web Quest Rubric
DNA Lab Exercise - 10 points - DNA Lab Rubric
Class Participation - 20 points (1 point per day)

· Class Participation - includes class discussion, asking / answering questions, and / or full laboratory participation.

Notebook - 30 points (2 points per activity)

· Notebook - Students should maintain a notebook composed of their lecture notes, lab handouts, and homework. The notebook can be used during the practical. After the practical, students may be awarded two points for each activity included in their notebooks. The notebook should be neat and organized.

Lab Practical & Report - 100 points - Practical Rubric
Quizzes - 35 points (5 point quiz per activity)
Total Possible Points - 445