Forensics Lab Focuses on Crime Scenes

Forensics Lab Focuses on Crime Scenes
Posted on 11/01/2017
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Career Readiness Academy Students Learn about Science, Career Options

Popular shows like CSI or Criminal Minds give you a glimpse into the world of forensics. But with the help of Forensic Detective Mike Steele, students at Lakota’s Career Readiness Academy (CRA) got a hands-on look at how detectives approach a crime scene.

Detective Steele (from the Butler County Sheriff’s Office) discussed what happens at crime scenes, and focused in on the primary action at a crime scene – lifting fingerprints.

“The forensic lab connected with what both of my biology and physical science classes were learning,” said CRA teacher Lisa Kiesewetter. The lab gave her biology students a more in-depth look at genetics and DNA, and physical science students saw the role that measuring reference points and physics play at the crime scene. The lab was a lesson in science, but had ties to English and Math as well.forensics lab photo collage of students

Kiesewetter also invited CRA students interested in careers in criminal justice or forensic science to participate. Over 60 students took part in a fingerprint forensics lab throughout the day.

Students used volcanic ash to lift fingerprints from both porous and non-porous objects. They used metric system measurement cards and learned about the common types of fingerprints.

“The students were intrigued with the whole process,” said Kiesewetter. “They learned that you could possibly lift fingerprints from a crime scene even if it is raining due to oil and water not mixing because your skin secretes oils which help to make up your fingerprint. They also learned that people with oily skin tend to leave a more pronounced fingerprint and sometimes a person doesn’t even leave a fingerprint.”  

During the lab, Detective Steele interacted with students to ask questions and to get them to think about the process, and the students had many questions for him about careers in forensics.

Kiesewetter is also using a number of hands-on labs with her biology students to tie in other aspects of DNA. They recently did a human cheek lab, using a microscope to see where DNA was located in the cell. Earlier this week students extracted DNA from strawberries, to illustrate that every living thing – plant or animal – has DNA.