Forensics Labs | EYC Student Project of the Month (Mar 2024)

Mar 14, 2024

Nic A. has been busy investigating crimes for his forensics class this semester! Between blood splatter, shoe prints, fingerprints, and chromatography, Science Teacher Dr. Jennifer Bolla has been creating opportunities for Nic to show off his learning in fun and interesting ways.

Fingerprint Lab

In one lab activity, Nic learned how to read a fingerprint, including looking for the differences between his own and other people’s prints. The fingerprint was a key aspect to solving the crime at the heart of the lab. 

Nic had to use an ink pad with washable ink to create his own fingerprint to analyze and compare to other samples. While every person’s fingerprints are unique, the differences are subtle and difficult to decipher, so Jennifer got out a magnifying glass to help Nic out. He found four fingerprints on a glass jar, and analyzed them as part of the process to solve the crime.

In addition, Nic got to experiment with different kinds of prints. He compared a chemical print to an ink print to see how much information they leave behind and also the different processes for extracting a fingerprint.

Chromatography Lab

In the Chromatography Lab, Nic learned about the different colors and pigments that make up the colored materials we see every day, such as markers and even lipstick. Each color has specific pigments in certain concentrations to make them different. As part of the lab, Nic began investigating the base colors that combine to make different marker colors. He bled a few different markers on a piece of paper, and soaked them in a solution that separated out the different pigments.

Next, Nic repeated the process with four brands of red lipstick to help solve the crime in the lab. The lab uses a special chromatography paper, which allows the pigments to separate out for analysis. Once he gets the separated colors from the lipstick samples, he will match the one in question to the samples on the chromatography paper to solve the crime!

Forensics Fun

Jennifer says Nic is having a great time with the labs! He loves the hands-on aspects of the learning and solving the crimes that are laid out in the labs. For Jennifer, hearing Nic say something was surprising and interesting is a huge compliment! She loves making learning not only accessible, but engaging, for all students. Other students have already begun thinking about taking forensics in the future, just so they can also complete the labs like Nic.