Introduction to Forensics Lecture & Note Guide

This is my introductory lecture given in a forensics class about the field of forensic science.  It describes some of the history of forensics, people involved in major discoveries, and a list of the main topics in forensic science.  There is an embedded youtube video in the prezi and the powerpoint.  The video is a quick clip of a PBS series on how Sherlock Holmes changed police investigations.  The content in the prezi and powerpoint are identical so it is just a matter of choice for the teacher.  Do you want to use the free prezi or purchase the powerpoint from my TPT store?

Topics include:

  • Definition of Forensic Science
  • Fields of Study
  • Historical Contributions to the Field
  • Types of Crime Labs
  • Locard’s Principle of Exchange

The prezi above is available for free and there is a student note-guide available in my TPT store, plus a powerpoint version of the prezi if you prefer that format:

Introduction to Forensics Note Guide for Free Prezi

In Practice…

This lecture takes approximately 60 minutes depending on how much detail and examples are given.  It is good to use in a Forensics course in high school or introductory college level setting.

After this introduction, move on to Laws & Evidence and also Observation Skills.

Check out the Forensics page for a full list of resources available for a Forensic Science course.

Forensics: DNA Evidence

This is my DNA Evidence lecture given in a forensics class about types of evidence that contain DNA.  It also describes Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) and DNA Fingerprinting by electrophoresis in detail.  There is also an embedded youtube video in the prezi and the powerpoint.  The content in the prezi and powerpoint are identical so it is just a matter of choice for the teacher.  Do you want to use the free prezi or purchase the powerpoint from my TPT store?

Topics include:

  • DNA Structure
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Gel Electrophoresis
  • DNA Fingerprinting
  • Types of DNA Evidence

The prezi above is available for free and there is a student note-guide available in my TPT store, plus a powerpoint version of the prezi if you prefer that format:

DNA Evidence Student Note Guide to accompany a FREE prezi! DNA Evidence powerpoint presentation and student note guide

In Practice…

This lecture takes approximately 75 minutes depending on how much detail and examples are given.  It is good to use in a Forensics course in high school or introductory college level setting.  It includes a refresher section but most students  have had some introductory biology so they have been exposed to DNA structure and replication.

DNA Evidence Inspiration

Here are some of the best links to resources on DNA evidence:

Have you found a good resource about DNA evidence that should be part of this list? Add it in the comments so we can put it in the list too!

Forensic Pathology

This is my Forensic Pathology lecture given in a forensics class about what a Medical Examiner does to determine the cause of death.  It also describes several of the methods used to estimate postmortem interval, or how long it has been since someone died.

Topics include:

  • Roles in the crime lab
  • Algor Mortis
  • Rigor Mortis
  • Livor Mortis
  • Autopsy

The prezi above is available for free and there is a student note-guide available in my TPT store:

Pathology PPT and Student Note Guide

In Practice…

This lecture takes approximately 75 minutes depending on how much detail and examples are given.  It is good to use in a Forensics course in high school or introductory college level setting.  I use this in my Human Remains unit where we also discuss Forensic Anthropology (or bones!)

Another activity that the students enjoy with this topic is the virtual autopsy.

Forensics: Laws and Evidence Lecture

This is an introduction to the types of law and the rules of evidence that need to be considered for forensic investigators.  It gives good perspective to students about the role of forensic investigators and technicians within the criminal justice community.  It describes the criminal justice system in the United States in terms of Civil vs. Criminal, Rules of Evidence, etc.

Different types of evidence and how evidence can be entered into a court proceeding is also discussed in this lecture.  It provides a framework for the students to consider as the Forensics course moves forward with collection and testing of different types of evidence.  They can see where/how the evidence trail will end.

Topics include:

  • Direct vs. Indirect Evidence
  • Class vs. Individual Evidence
  • Civil vs. Criminal Law
  • Rules of Evidence
  • The Daubert Approach

The prezi above is available for free and there is a student note-guide available in my TPT store: Forensics: Laws & Evidence Lecture Note Guide for Prezi

In Practice…

This lecture takes approximately 75 minutes depending on how much detail and examples are given.  It is good to use near the beginning of a Forensics course in high school or introductory college level setting.  I use this as the second lecture of the course, after the What is Forensics? lecture and before the Crime Scene Protocols topic.

Fingerprinting Resource Inspiration

The following list of websites are all related to Fingerprint Evidence and can be used as either teacher or student resources.

Do you have any great resources to add to this list? Please post them in the comments and I’ll update the list!

Crime Scene Protocols

An introduction to crime scene personnel and procedures.  This is the first lesson in my Crime Scene Protocols unit. It takes students through what happens once a first responder has determined that, yes, we have a crime scene here!  Then the CSI team gets called in and the process of documenting the scene and properly collecting any evidence must begin.

In addition to the prezi I give my students the following note guide to fill in as I go through the lecture.  You can download the note guide as a PDF below.

Crime Scene Protocols Note Guide – PDF

In practice…

This lecture takes approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour depending on how much detail and examples are given.  There is a 10-minute youtube video embedded in the prezi that details methods for picking up trace evidence from carpet.