Forensic Science Laboratory Experiments
There are a variety of activities for Forensics. You can find some of our more commonly requested activities below the request forms on this page, or you can view our up-to-date list of all activities.
Forensics Middle School complete list
Forensics High School complete list
Scheduling Form for activities designated as “Biology Mobile Educator”
Feedback Form for activities designated as “Biology Mobile Educator”
Scheduling Form for activities designated as “Chem/Phys Mobile Educator”
Feedback Form for activities designated as “Chem/Phys Mobile Educator”
Commonly Requested Activities for Biology:
DNA Fingerprinting (possible follow up activity)
Students use provided images of DNA fingerprinting gels to determine paternity and to match a crime scene sample to a suspect. Can be used as a stand-alone lab, or a follow-up after the Gel Electrophoresis lab.
Students act as “eyewitnesses” and use a forensic art program to draw faces of suspects.
Students pour their own gels, load the gels with food coloring solutions, run the gels, and analyze the results
Students use an immunoassay to show how forensic scientists can determine if blood on a bumper is from a human or another animal.
Sherlock Bones (forensics)
Students study properties of bones to determine sex, race, height and age.
Contact Science In Motion staff for more information.
Students use microscopes to examine a variety of animal hairs and fibers. This kit also includes materials to make your own wet mount slides of trace evidence such as pollen or human hair. A vial of diatoms and a diatom identification book are also provided.
Students are given DNA sequences of common seafood, then use BLAST to identify which fish it is and whether or not it has been mislabeled.
Commonly Requested Activities for Chemistry/Physical Science:
Students study bullets & casings, as well as identify shooting trajectory of a bullet hole/wound
FTIR (Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy)
Fibers: identification of fibers and fabrics in a forensic analysis
Liquid: students obtain spectra of several pure liquids and identify an unknown
Adhesives: compare and identify adhesive tape and labels
Plastics: analyze and identify plastics
The Great American Heist – This activity sets up a school crime scene where a mascot has been stolen with a note, fibers, a liquid, and a white powder are left behind. There are analyses of each of these pieces of evidence that may be done all together or separate:
The Note: students identify the ink on the note with TLC (see description of TLC below)
TLC of Ink Middle School (The Note)
The Liquid: students identify the liquid using our mini-GC (gas chromatography)
The White Powder: students identify the white powder by melting point
Thin Layer & Paper Chromatography
Analgesics: Students run TLC on acetaminophen, aspirin, and caffeine. They then identify three unknown analgesics made from a mixture of the above.
Ink: Students run TLC on various inks to determine an unknown ink sample
TLC of Ink Middle School (middle school level)
Lipstick Chromatography Students run TLC on lipstick samples, then match an unknown sample to one of the knowns.
Marker: Students use paper chromatography to separate the inks in markers, then identify an unknown marker