Powder Power: Solutions or Suspensions

Welcome to The Missing Money Mystery: An Introduction to Forensic Science!

This Powder Power: Solutions or Suspensions lesson invites elementary students to study a wide variety of powders while simultaneously learning about the crucial role that each of them plays within the realm of forensic science!

As instructors immerse their students in this incredible lesson, they’ll find themselves taking on the role of a toxicologist while they observe and conduct chemical tests on a variety of powders.

This particular expertise is incredibly valuable when it comes to performing any chemical test or reaction during an investigation.

Toxicologists perform tests on body fluids and tissues, like organs, to determine if traces of drugs, alcohol, or poisons are in the body. Even hair and nails can contain traces of drugs. Although police officers may conduct very simple tests when there’s an arrest, often the qualitative testing must happen at a more sophisticated level. If the police test indicates there is a significant likelihood that illegal drugs are present, then a blood or urine sample must be taken for further study.

Most of the testing that toxicologists conduct is related to driving under the influence of arrests. Special machines have been designed to conduct these tests. First, it must be determined that the sample does indeed contain drugs or alcohol. If drugs or alcohol are found, the exact amount present must be determined. The machines, similar to small robots, are able to vacuum up the samples, prepare them for testing, conduct the tests, and display the results on a computer! To explore the different lab equipment and machinery, simply click here!

To learn more about toxicologists, what they do, where they work, and the different careers available, click here to read this helpful article provided by Society of Toxicology.

After the students learn about toxicologists and further read the vocabulary provided, they’ll then be introduced to three unique activities. These three activities include: Observing Properties of Powders and Crystals, Identify the Powder Evidence, and Get to Know the Suspects. They will be asked to carefully observe the properties of powders and crystals, record their observations, and then use them to determine the substance found at the crime scene.

Each tailor-made activity was specifically designed to heighten students’ critical thinking skills, confidence, and competence, along with their science literacy as they get one step closer to solving the mystery at hand.

Interested in this particular course? Well, you can read the complete overview by visiting our website and clicking The Missing Money Mystery course kit, or you can click here to watch a helpful introductory video.

You can also read our Missing Money Resources Part I, and our Missing Money Resources Part II here. These additional resources will ensure that both the instructor and the students get the most out of this exceptional forensic course.

If you found these links helpful, keep a lookout for more discussions and resources to come in the near future!

As always, we’d love to hear your feedback or any questions that you might have. You can email us at any time by sending a message to info@commlearning.com.

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