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Death of an angel

  • Key Stage 3
  • Topical

Type: Activity
Learning Strategy: Data work
Topic: States of matter

This activity aims to show science skills put to use in a career. Students take on the role of forensic science technicians who are acting as expert witnesses for the murder of Angel. They have been asked to re-analyse evidence from the scene, to check whether there is enough evidence to support the murder conviction of her boyfriend Zane. To do this they carry out an blood spatter analysis is used to check whether the murder weapon was indeed a hammer. They also watch a demonstration of a blood viscosity test to check whether the time of death originally measured was accurate. Finally they report their findings to the lawyer representing Zane. The activity offers an opportunity to assess students’ understanding of: the ‘Particle model’ and ‘Evaluating evidence’.

This activity is part of a Department for Children, Schools and Families initiative to promote subject choice and careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) delivered by the Centre for Science Education at Sheffield Hallam University and VT Enterprise.

This activity is adapted from the Forensics unit of upd8’s exciting new 11-14 course - ‘wikid’. Find out more here .

Published: 3rd February 2009
Reviews & Comments: 3

Learning objectives

What we want students to understand:

• A conclusion is reliable if similar results are obtained when the tests are repeated by different people.
• When conclusions are presented, the limitations of the evidence must be recognised.

What students will inquire into:

• How do forensics scientists get believable evidence?
• Is forensic evidence enough to prove guilt?

Try the activity

You will need Acrobat Reader installed to open the activity sheets.

Evidence from observations and experiments must be analysed and evaluated critically
(KS3 Programme of Study 2.2; Strategy Framework 1.2 e and f)

Running the activity

Full details in the downloadable teachers guide:
• Starter - the murder
• Blood spatter analysis
• Checking the pattern
• Blood viscosity analysis

Note there is an optional practical activity which requires a risk assessment.

News links

Forensic Science Society
The Forensic Science Society is the professional body for forensic scientists.
Forensic Science Service
The Forensic Science Service analyses more than 120,000 cases each year and employs The majority of forensic scientists in the United Kingdom.
Royal Society of Chemistry
The Royal Society of Chemistry provides an interesting case study of a young forensic scientist.
University of Kent
The University of Kent is one of many universities offering forensic science degrees. This page is entitled 'What can you do with a degree in forensic science?'
A good place to look for information on possible careers in STEM. Check out the site for information about forensics and how a science degree can take you to many places that link to forensics.
Case studies of some exciting careers using Science and Maths.
Search for forensics and find all the linked job families, qualification routes to a career linked to forensics and lots of other information.

Reviews & Comments

Write your online review to share your feedback and classroom tips with other teachers. How well does it work, how engaging is it, how did you use it, and how could it be improved?

Science KS3

Apr 15th, 2013

4 Star

excellent resource. Really engaged the pupils really got into the role of CSI's. Good introduction into reliability of evidence aND EVALUATION OF METHOD

Reviewer: Elizabeth Davy

Death of an angel

Mar 29th, 2012

5 Star

really good

Reviewer: Sana Mahmood

Fast Cars

Oct 20th, 2010

4 Star

Great resource but could you change the torque units on the graphs to read Nm instead of nm (nanometres) please?

Reviewer: Nick Wiffen