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Notes for the Instructor

Lady Justice is a common symbol for the judicial system in the United States today. She is depicted as a statue outside of many court buildings. Her origins date back to mythological Greek and Roman times.

Lady Justice is often blindfolded while holding a scale in one hand and a sword in the other. The blindfold represents the objectivity, or unbiasedness, of the court system. The scale represents the weighing of evidence in each case. The sword represents punishment. Often the sword is pointing down, symbolizing that punishment always comes after the trial, never before.

Students will use balances to literally weigh the evidence of each suspect against one another. Not only will this give your students a chance to use a common measurement tool in science, it will provide a visual to help them formulate their own conclusions.

This activity is a great one to begin discussing the importance of objectivity, or an unbiased nature, in science. As people, scientists may have a hypothesis that they hope to prove. They may even want the data to show a particular outcome. However, a good conclusion is not based on the desires of the scientist. Instead it is based purely on what the data shows.

Similarly, your students may have a certain suspect that they feel is guilty. It may feel like “winning” if they have the right suspect in mind. However, when it is time to weigh the evidence, these opinions don’t count. Students will only add a weight to the pan if the evidence links the suspect to Alice’s disappearance.