CSI: Lubbock – Day 1

Today was the first day of our 2-day youth workshop all about forensics and crime scene investigation techniques.

We started the day by learning what fingerprints can tell us at a crime scene and how to read their unique patterns.

Making our fingerprints

Is your left hand different from your right?

Takes lots of practice to get them just right!

One print for each finger

Next, we headed outside to learn the proper methods for investigating a crime scene. It’s important to record and label all details when you first come across a potential crime scene.

Our crime scene

Recording measurements

Mapping the location of human remains

Back in our crime “lab”, Brittany taught us how to lift fingerprints from different surfaces using blue and red magnetic powder.

Learning how to lift fingerprints!

Another important part of solving crimes is using trace evidence from things like footprints. Brittany used biofoam to make an imprint of a student’s shoe.

Stepping in casting foam

Placing our objects with fingerprints in an evidence bag

Carefully dusting for prints...

Using magnetic powder to lift the prints

Working hard not to ruin the evidence

Using the blue magnetic powder

Carefully dusting the jar

Getting ready to place the evidence in the bag

Next, we learned that a common hardware item, WD-40, can be used to trace footprints at a crime scene. We headed outside to give everyone a chance to see what their footprint would look like once sprayed with the liquid, and then dusted for prints!

Spraying down shoes

WD-40, then step on paper to leave a print

Showing how wet paper can even be dusted for prints

We were then given a murder mystery to read and solve…

Working to solve a mystery

Who do you think did it?

We also learned how forensic scientists can remove footprints from areas that appear to be clean to the naked eye.

First you roll the electromagnetic sheet over the area

By using a flashlight, the dust particles left behind can be seen in the dark!

Smooth the paper to pick up particles left behind by the footprint

Do you see any prints?

To finish up the day, we did a mock blood spatter analysis. Students dropped “blood” at different angles on pieces of paper to see the different shapes made the drops.

Dropping blood from 18 inches about the surface

How did the blood spatter on your paper?

60 degree angle...

Ready to drop in 3, 2, 1...

How is 90 degrees different from 75?

Now let's try from 36 inches!

Tomorrow we will use all the skills we acquired today to help solve a murder mystery at the Museum!

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