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Notes for the Instructor

Forensic artists are people on an investigative team that create images, by hand or on a computer, that help solve the crime. These images could be sketches of the crime scene, courtroom drawings or composite sketches.

A crime scene sketch shows the overall layout of the scene. It includes the location and size of all of the pieces of evidence found.

The initial crime scene sketch is often done by hand at the scene. It is made with a pencil. A forensic artist will take measurements of each object and distances at the crime scene. She will record this information on her rough sketch, even though the sketch itself is not drawn to scale.

Investigators will go back later and use computer software to improve the rough sketch and create a final sketch. A final sketch will be made in ink so that it is not easily changed. It will be drawn using exact measurements of objects and the distances between them. The sketch will be drawn-to-scale, meaning that all of the objects in the sketch are relatively sized and reduced or enlarged to the same degree.

The crime scene sketch is a very important part of the investigative process. It is used to help others understand what the scene looked like. It can be used to communicate with other investigators while questioning possible suspects, and when presenting the case in court.

This lesson will challenge your students to make a rough sketch of a pretend crime scene. The focus of sketching at this stage (rough) should be the inclusion of all objects, the proper positional placement and relative size of objects in the scene. The focus of this activity is not measuring or realistic duplication.

Some examples of positional words that you may use during this activity include: above, below, beside, in front of, behind, next to, between, near, far.

Some examples of comparative words you may use during this activity include: bigger than, smaller than, closer to, farther from, lower than, higher than.