Mock Crime Scene
Note: This activity will be ongoing throughout the next several units. You will need to refer back to the information you gather here for later activities, so be sure to save any notes you take.
You get the call on a Tuesday afternoon. Dr. Fisher, a famous surgeon, has been found dead in his high-rise apartment. So far, the police aren’t sure if it was a murder or a suicide. The coroner has removed the body, and police have secured the crime scene and dusted for prints. Now it’s your turn! You’ll be using your forensic knowledge to photograph the scene, take notes, and collect evidence. With a little luck, you just might be able to solve the mystery . . .
In this activity, you’ll begin investigating the mock crime scene. Using the instructions below, have a friend or family member set up the crime scene for you—or set it up yourself. Be sure to get permission from an adult in your home before setting up as some of the ‘evidence’ may be messy! You’ll need the following materials:
Brown paper bags
Plastic sandwich bags
Ruler or measuring tape
Dark hair sample (can use dark-colored paper or thread)
Light hair sample (can use light-colored paper or thread)
A piece of notebook paper
White powder (e.g. flour, baking soda)
A table and chair
An object representing a pool of blood (e.g. a red paper cut-out)
An object representing a gun (e.g. cardboard or paper)
A small object to represent a spent shell casing from a bullet
Set the crime scene up in an available room or space, as follows:
Put the glass on the table, in easy reach of the chair.
Scatter some of the white powder near the glass, on the table.
Put the dark hair sample on the chair.
Put the piece of notebook paper on the floor next to the table.
On the floor beside the chair, use the masking tape to mark the outline of a body.
Put the gun at the hand of the body outline.
Put the shell casing far off to the left.
Put the light hair sample near the door.
Put the red paper cut-out representing the blood on the floor near the head of the body outline.
Now, it’s time to investigate. Here’s what you’ll need to do.
Use the post-it notes to tag each piece of evidence you find. Be sure to put the post-it note next to the evidence, not right on top of it! Number each note.
Photograph the scene using your cell phone or a digital camera. Take three types of photos:
“Overview” photos of the entire scene (at least four, with one facing toward each wall).
“Intermediate” photos showing evidence in context (at least six, covering all the pieces of evidence).
“Close-up” photos of the evidence (at least nine, one for each piece of evidence). Take these photos with the ruler in the photo next to the evidence, to show scale.
Upload these photos to your PC, so you can submit them as evidence. For each photo, attach a note that includes the name of the case (Dr. Fisher Case), the item(s) shown in the photo with evidence number(s), and the type of photo (overview, intermediate, or close-up).
Inspect each piece of evidence and make a brief note of what it is, where it is located, and any other details. (At least one sentence each)
Using the ruler or a measuring tape, take at least the following measurements:
Diameter of the pool of blood at its widest point
Length of the body outline
Distance between the body and the table/chair
Distance between the chair and the glass sitting on the table
Distance between the shell casing and the gun
Distance between the piece of notebook paper and the table
Add these measurements to your crime scene notes.
Collect the evidence. Use brown paper bags for larger items, like the gun and glass. Use plastic bags for smaller items like hair and powder. Assume that blood samples have already been swabbed and collected. On each bag, write “EVIDENCE,” the name of the case (“Dr. Fisher Case”), the evidence item, and its number. Take photos of your bagged evidence to show that you’ve collected it and that it’s ready for the crime lab. Be as detailed as possible.
Mock Crime Scene