4th Grade ALP

Growing a Community of Leaders

Highlights of the Forensics Unit


Each week the forensic interns received a new case that required them to use their forensic analysis skills to come to a conclusion and justifying their reasoning. Some of the skills that the students learned were in-depth observation, inspecting handwriting, reconstructing and analyzing written evidence (see video below), studying bones to determine a suspect's height (forensic anthropology), examining fingerprints, and learning about some of the careers involved in Forensic Sciences.

Reconstructing and Analyzing Written Evidence


How Credible are Witnesses?

During one of the first cases that we solved, we learned about witness credibility and the concept of selective attention. We watched a few videos where we were focused on finding the answer. Interested in trying it out?

  • See how many times the team wearing white passes the ball in this video. Make sure to watch it all the way to the end.
  • There is also this video that has several examples as well.
  • Here's a fun explanation of the first video.
In learning about credible witnesses, we also learned about what to look for when interviewing a witness. We learned how to document a scene and what the number cards are for, as well as practice our own observation skills in a number of ways - from analyzing key details at a crime scene to testing our own selective attention and even determining whether the evidence was tampered with or not.
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Handwriting Analysis

Did you know that there are several ways to analyze handwriting? Some of those ways include looking at how the letters and words are written: looking for slants, symmetry of certain loop letters (like g), looking closely at certain letters (like the dot on the letter i or the cross on the letter t), comparing height ratios (for example an the letter h compared to the letters t, c, or i), and the baseline and connection of the letters. Other ways to analyze handwriting are based on the words chosen, the spelling, and any codewords (or codes themselves) that are embedded in the piece of writing. These forensic interns were incredible at analyzing handwriting and were able to solve the case of the robber (as well as a few extension quick analysis cases as well).
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Fingerprint Analysis

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Questions to ask your child:

  • What was your favorite aspect of the Forensics course? Why?
  • Can you describe a time that challenged you to think creatively during this course?
  • How did this class help you look at the world differently or provide you with another perspective?
  • Can you describe to me how you worked as a team member?
  • What was a challenge that was difficult for you and how did you overcome it?
  • What was an interesting discovery you made during this unit? About forensics? A case you were trying to solve? About yourself? About others?
  • What moment are you most proud of during this unit?