NASBI visits the Museum

We were fortunate enough to have the Native American Summer Bridge Institute visit the Museum on Thursday morning for a class all about forensic science!

We started the morning by learning what techniques are used for examining the unique features in fingerprints…

Do you see any whorls or arches?

Finding points of identification

Next, Brittany taught us how to use magnetic powder to lift latent prints off of different surfaces.

Carefully dusting for prints

Sweeping magnetic powder across the surface

Finger prints have dots, islands, and arches

Next, we ventured downstairs to investigate a mock crime scene where an art heist had taken place!

Sketching the crime scene

Making sure to draw all the evidence

Every detail is important

Evidence bags for collecting important specimens

Carefully collecting evidence at the scene of the crime

An orange powder that glows under UV light can be used to further dust for latent prints at the scene of the crime. We had to wear these big goggles to protect our eyes from the UV light.

Using the special orange magnetic powder to dust for prints

Using the orange powder to dust where the painting was taken off the wall

All surfaces are important at a crime scene

To finish up the class, we headed back to the classroom to use our fingerprint lifting techniques on our recently collected evidence from the crime scene.

Lifting prints from the evidence collected at the scene

Checking out the crime scene sketch for further details

Who do you think committed the crime?

Closely examining more evidence

Objects like water bottles are important because they can contain latent prints and saliva

Successfully lifted some great prints!

We had a lot of fun teaching these students about forensics, and hopefully inspired some of them to pursue a career in this field! We hope they’ll come back and learn more at the Museum next year!

CSI: Lubbock – Day 2

Our 2nd (and last) day of the CSI: Lubbock workshop was full of murder mystery fun.  We put all our previous days skills to the test by investigating a real-like crime scene!

We started by visiting the scene of the crime in the Old Assembly room at the Museum….

Marking the location of the crime

Caution: crime scene area

What happened here?

Table of evidence

How far is it from marker 6 to 7?

Photographing evidence

Outline of the body (and blood!)

Mapping the crime scene

Measuring the distance between pieces of evidence

Marking the evidence bags

Being an investigator even requires going through the trash...

Hm, any evidence in there?

Placing the evidence in its proper bag

Keep it contained...

Map of the crime scene

We then used fluorescent latent print powder to dust for fingerprints around the crime scene.

Looking for fingerprints on the door knob

Dusting the back of the chair

UV light reveals where prints were left behind!

Any prints on the garbage can?

Next, we headed back to the “Crime Lab” to prepare for a visit from our suspects. Students were asked to make a list of the questions they wanted to ask the 4 crime suspects.

What are you going to ask the suspects?

Do any of our suspects have alibis?

Working together to come up with some juicy questions

Where were you on the night of June 15?

Yesterday Brittany taught us how to use electromagnetic sheets to lift footprints from the ground that may be unseen by the naked eye. We returned to the scene of the crime to see if any were left behind.

Lifting footprints from the crime scene

Charging up the electromagnetic sheet

Do you see any footprints?

We returned to the Crime Lab to prepare for interrogation of our suspects…

Questioning Mike Wesley, suspect #1

Caroline McDonald, recently moved to Lubbock from Missouri...

Paige, suspect #3

Examining fabric fiber evidence

Is that cotton, nylon, or wool?

Using the methods for dusting for prints we learned yesterday, we opened our evidence bags and dusted the objects for any latent prints.

Dusting a piece of evidence for fingerprints

Dusting the murder weapon, the baseball bat, for prints

A drinking cup from the crime scene

Can you find the murderers prints?

Comparing the suspects' fingerprints to those found at the crime scene

Matching footprints from the suspects to those at the crime

Can you find the points of identification?

Matching up all the evidence

By piecing together all the evidence, the class was able to determine who was the murderer!

At the crime lab we learned that Caroline was the murderer!

We finished up the day by playing a game of Clue!

Ms. Scarlet, in the ballroom, with the knife?

Mr. Plum, in the kitchen, with the revolver?

We learned so many cool, new crime solving techniques at CSI camp! Fingerprinting, hand writing analysis, fabric fiber identification, footprint lifting, and solving a murder were all exciting aspects of this 2-day workshop! We hope all the kids had fun, and that some are now inspired to become forensic scientists 🙂

Questions about Kids Programs at the Museum of TTU?

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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!