Forensic Science for Kids
Kids love to learn about forensic science--the field in which criminal investigators analyze evidence from a crime scene to help "catch the culprit." Though in reality this is a slow and complicated process, forensic experiments and games for kids can be very entertaining, and can teach kids about law enforcement as well as many different scientific fields, including biology, anatomy, and chemistry.
Forensic Science Games
The Montreal Science Centre offers one of the most informative and interactive educational tools for learning about forensic science--the game Autopsy of a Murder. In this interactive investigation, kids can enter a crime scene and identify clues, choose what kind of lab to analyze the clues in (genetics, ballistics, chemistry, or fingerprint), learn about the many tools a crime scene investigator uses when analyzing evidence, and even learn a bit about the history of forensic science and the pioneering scientists in the field. Animations of laboratory activities and equipment show kids how clues are analyzed and how data is collected.
Forensic Science Experiments
If a book is of more interest than a game, check out CSI Expert!: Forensic Science for Kids, by Karen K. Schulz. This book teaches kids about the many aspects of forensic science, from fingerprinting to ballistics to evidence collection. The book gives instructions for over 25 experiments that kids can do at home to learn about forensic science, including taking fingerprints, collecting dental impressions, analyzing different substances, and detecting forgeries in official documents. These experiments require only normal household supplies and some enthusiasm! The hands-on aspect of these activities immerse children in the scientific processes involved in crime scene analysis and other aspects of forensic science.
Take Your Own Fingerprints!
Fingerprinting is one of the most common tasks of the criminal investigator, and it is easy for kids to do at home! To take your own fingerprint, press one finger into an inkpad, or rub a pencil over the same area on a piece of paper many times, and then press a finger onto the rubbed area, making sure to flatten your finger as much as possible to get a complete print. Then press the finger on a clean piece of paper. Be careful not to smudge the print, or use too much ink, as this will prevent the individual lines of the print to be shown. Kids can examine the unique contours of their own fingerprints, coming face-to-face with one of the central exercises in forensic science!
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