Friday, April 7, 2017

A Day in Our Homeschool: Forensic Science at the Oakes Museum

One of our favorite places to visit is Oakes Museum of Natural Science at Messiah College in Grantham, PA. My son always comes home having gained a wealth of information. Furthermore, the staff at the museum work well with him and are great at helping him stay on task and at dealing with any meltdowns he may have due to his diagnosis of Autism.

Oakes runs various programs for students throughout the year. They have programs specifically designed for homeschoolers as well as labs utilizing their microscopes and other specialized equipment. They also have programs for children on Saturdays. The Curator's Club is for students in 3rd through 5th grade while CC2 is geared to students in 6th through 8th grade (or older).

Recently, my son attended a class at Oakes on Forensic Science. For the first portion of the class, the students worked on various projects at different stations. One station had them take their fingerprints. They could then compare their fingerprints to a poster that showed the three common types: whorls, loops, and ridges.

Another station had them put together a human skeleton utilizing x-rays. This station simulated the process a forensic anthropologist would utilize to find evidence in a crime. As my son said, he got to be Bones (from the FOX TV show) for a day.

Finally, the last station had the students look at different types of shoe impressions. This exercise helped students learn about a new method of crime scene investigation and how to be observant. My son said this exercise made him feel like Abby (from CBS TV show NCIS).

The second portion of the class had the students engaging in two different exercises in the lab. The first exercise had students identify different hair samples utilizing microscopes. Using the various samples, they were able to identify the killer.

Sample: Deer Hair

Sample: Human Hair - Color Blonde

Sample: Mouse Hair

The last exercise of the day was to sort through bones and determine the body part, whether it was male or female, and the approximate weight of the individual by measuring the bones. Then, the students could determine how many victims they had and complete a report.

Sample: Pelvic Bone

Sample: Humorous Bone

To learn more about Forensic Science, visit these sites.

Forensics PBS Kids

CSI: Facts (Science Trek)

Investigating Forensics

The Art of Crime Detection

Forensic Entomology


Thank you for stopping by my blog today. Please take a moment to stop by the Homeschool Review Crew to gain additional Field Trip inspiration and to see how other homeschool families spend their days.

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