FuF - Forensics

During the 2nd teachingmodule “Field Biology” of FuF (Förder (coach) and Forder (challenge) lessons) 5th and 6th graders learned about forensics and how to analyze data. An appropriate headline could read:

International junior forensics team solves mysterious case 

On November 27th, 2017 at 11:40 am, students of the 5th and 6th grade made a strange discovery in the multipurpose room of the science building of the German International School Washington D.C.: A mysterious skull was found positioned on top of a few dollar bills and next to a handwritten note.

A soggy shoe print was discovered nearby. After securing the property and analyzing the situation, the experts of the “forensics team” began their work. Traces of evidence were secured, all items were carefully documented (see photo) and individually packed in evidence bags. Step by step the international team of experts examined the evidence and came to the following conclusions:

Based on its size and teeth structure the mysterious skull was identified as that of a muskrat. Examining the scull further they found a blood trace* (human blood type 0), some fabric fibers (identified as cotton) and hair samples not belonging to a muskrat and identified as cat hair. The analysis of the fingerprints on the banknote led nowhere. The case became really complicated at this point, but our team never lost their confidence.

Using chromatography they tested the ink type of the written note and concluded that it was written with a BIC ballpoint pen.

The shoe print clearly matched a specific model of casual footware: brand Converse, size 7, black, patent-leather.

Despite all these facts the case remained mysterious. Had there really been a crime or just a combination of unfortunate circumstances?

A group of five scientists (alumni of the GISW) finally shone a light on the case. Further investigation revealed that the “Friends of Nature” meet monthly to discuss interesting species. Their last topic was the muskrat. All of them prefer cotton clothes and leisure or sports footware. Four of the women have blood type 0 and three have cats as pets at home. Although the writing utensil used for the note was a standard ballpoint pen, three of the scientists said that BIC is their favorite brand. The remaining question was how the blood got on the skull.

One of the scientists remembered that she injured her hand while examining the skull and that after tying her shoelace, she became dizzy. She simply forgot to clean up before going home. CASE SOLVED!

* simulated blood sample 

Anja Ellenrieder

(Course Instructor)


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