Nomad Press has a couple of fun books out about Forensics. So this week and next I'll be pairing a book review with some hands-on crime scene science that you can do at home.
by Carla Mooney; illus. by Samuel Carbaugh
128 pages; ages 12 - 15
Nomad Press, 2013
This is a wonderful book, and I can't believe I let it fall to the bottom of my book review basket. Especially since I enjoy watching Bones and NCIS !
Forensics is the science of finding evidence and analyzing it for clues. Evidence can be anything: blood spatters, carpet fibers, insects, pollen, powders, fingerprints and footprints. Each piece of evidence reveals something about what happened at the scene of the crime.
This book introduces the science of crime scene investigation. There's a chapter on fingerprints: how to find, recover, and identify the patterns. There's a chapter about blood evidence, and one about bones and bodies. There's chapters about impressions (treadmarks), trace evidence, and fakes. Throughout the book are sidebars highlighting forensic careers and plenty of hands-on activities for kids to try. It's a great way to introduce kids to the science they see on the screen.
Try It: Fingerprints
Take a look at your fingers using a magnifying lens. See the whorls and arches? They make your print pattern. Any time you touch something, you leave a fingerprint. That's because your skin has oils in it. Crime scene investigators use powder to coat prints with dust and then lift them or photograph them for identification.
You can do it too. All you need are: a clean drinking glass, cocoa powder, a small, soft brush (camel-hair paintbrush) , transparent tape, and white paper. Now rub your fingers against your nose to make sure they have oils on them - that will make it easier for you to leave prints. Pick up the glass and put it down. You should have left some prints.
Use the cocoa powder to lightly dust the prints, and brush gently with the brush. The prints should become visible. Place the sticky side of the tape on a print and lift it off the glass. Then tape it to the white paper. Now you've got a print for "the lab".
Now take fingerprints of you and your friends, using washable ink or graphite. Try to pair up the print from the glass with one of the known prints.
Review copy of the book provided by publisher.