Forensic Science Syllabus

Mr. Warren Puckett      Room L-211        817-305-4700  Ext. 2066

Conference Periods:   6th  Period       on "B" Day                    

 Forensic science  is any science used for the purposes of the law, and therefore provides impartial scientific evidence for use in the courts of law, and in a criminal investigation and trial. Forensic science is a multidisciplinary subject, drawing principally from chemistry and biology, but also from physics, geology, psychology, social science, etc.


DISCIPLINE AND CLASS RULES:                                                                                              CONSEQUENCES

1.  Respect All People.                                                                                                                        1.  Verbal Warning

2.  Follow all directions the first time.                                                                                                2.  Student Conference

3.  Pay attention and talk only with permission.                                                                                 3.  Parent contact and detention.

4.  Be in your seat when the bell rings with materials and assignments.                                            4.  Office Referral.

5.  Follow the CHHS Code of Conduct.                                                                                         

6.  Severe disruptions / unsafe lab horseplay will be an automatic office  referral.                                                                                                                    


TEXT: An Introduction to Forensic Science by Saferstein and Fanning;  Pearson Press 2nd edition.


MATERIALS: Each student should provide the following supplies:


1)       A 3 ring binder.

2)       Paper  ( both regular and graph )

3)       Colored pencils or markers.

4)       Pencils and Pens  ( blue or black ink only )


 Grading Policy In accordance with district guidelines, each six-week grade will be determined as follows:  

60%  Assessment : Tests, major lab reports and projects

40%   Daily assignments, homework Labs, quizzes, journals..


Gradebook conventions:   IF a student does not do the homework / classwork, the grade will be shown as a 1%.    If the student was absent and needs to make it up within the normal day for a day absence,  it will show 2%.    If the time limit passes and absent makeup work is not completed,  the grade will become a 3%.

Homework :  is given to finish class work and may include problems, outside reading, pre or post-lab questions or reviewing for quizzes and tests will be assigned as  necessary.   We will review, grade, and collect the homework at the beginning of class. Homework may be done in pencil, blue ink or black ink.

Late Work and Make-up Work: Because we grade homework at the very beginning of class, of which quizzes usually follow, homework will be accepted late with a 30% penalty ducted.  All other late work will follow the district guidelines for late and make-up work. I would like to stress that when a student is absent, it is THEIR responsibility to obtain the missing work and to make appointments with their teacher  to make-up their Exams and other work within one day for each day of absence.



   IT IS THE STUDENT’S RESPONSIBILITY TO ARRANGE TO MAKE UP ANY WORK  MISSED DUE TO ANY ABSENCE.   The calendar on the CHHS web page will keep a list of assignments and activities.

Tests: At the end of each unit, a test will be given, usually covering 1 to 2 chapters in the book.  In the event of an absence, make-up tests will be given according to district policy and the student is responsible for making an appointment with the instructor.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  TESTS AND QUIZZES: District guidelines allow one day for each day of absence, and all makeup tests should be made up prior to the retest date. An assignment may be substituted for a make up quiz.

b)    Assignments: If a student is absent on the day an assignment is due, the assignment must be turned in upon return.


 Retests: Any student who obtains a grade below 70% on a major test may be given the opportunity to raise their grade to a maximum of 70% once during the six weeks or test corrections.  It is the student’s responsibility to schedule a time with Mr. Puckett to take a similar test over the material.  Students may retest before or after school at a time agreed upon by the student and teacher.   All test retakes must be finished 5 days before the end of the six weeks grading period.


Tutorials: I arrive at school by 8:00 AM every day. Students are welcome to come to my room for help from 8:00-8:35 Monday –Fridays. After school tutorials are by appointment.

Tardies: You must be in the room before the bell finishes sounding or you are tardy. Tardies will be handled in accordance with current CHHS policy.

1st Tardy = Warning                            2nd Tardy = Student Conference  

3rd Tardy = D-Hall & Parent Contact              4th Tardy = Office Referral


Broken/Damaged Equipment: Notify the teacher immediately of any broken or damaged equipment.  At the teacher’s discretion, a student or group of students may be required to pay for equipment breakage or damage if it is caused by poor classroom conduct (horseplay).


Topics Coverage:    The following is a listing of the units we will cover this year.   It may increase as opportunities arise.

Unit 1:    Safety and Intro to Forensics

Unit 2:   Crime Scene Investigations

Unit 3:   Physical Evidence

Unit 4:   Analysis of Glass and its properties.

Unit 5:   Drugs

Unit 6:   Toxicology

Unit 7:   Serology

Unit 8:   DNA and its analysis

Unit 9:   Blood stain analysis
Unit 10:  Computer Forensics
Unit 11 :  Document and hand writing analysis.
Note to parents:   Due to the nature of this course, students will be exposed to mature levels of the details of crimes to include discussion and pictures or videos of crimes including body parts, murder, rape,  bloody scenes,  firearms and ballistics,  drugs,  adult behaviors and psychological studies that are associated with crimes in the modern world.    Police work and forensic science can have gruesome details that bother some individuals that are not mature enough to deal with it.    If you do NOT wish to have your student exposed to these issues and materials;  PLEASE see the counselor to drop them from the course.   
STATE TEKS for Forensics:

§130.295. Forensic Science (One Credit).

(a)  Generalrequirements. The course is recommended for students in Grades 11-12.Prerequisites: Biology and Chemistry. Recommended prerequisites: Principles ofLaw, Public Safety, Corrections, and Security and Law Enforcement I. To receivecredit in science, students must meet the 40% laboratory and fieldworkrequirement identified in §74.3(b)(2)(C) of this title (relating to Descriptionof a Required Secondary Curriculum).

(b)  Introduction.

(1)  ForensicScience. Forensic Science is a course that uses a structured and scientificapproach to the investigation of crimes of assault, abuse and neglect, domesticviolence, accidental death, homicide, and the psychology of criminal behavior.Students will learn terminology and investigative procedures related to crimescene, questioning, interviewing, criminal behavior characteristics, truthdetection, and scientific procedures used to solve crimes. Using scientificmethods, students will collect and analyze evidence through case studies andsimulated crime scenes such as fingerprint analysis, ballistics, and bloodspatter analysis. Students will learn the history, legal aspects, and careeroptions for forensic science.

(2)  Natureof science. Science, as defined by the National Academy of Sciences, is the"use of evidence to construct testable explanations and predictions ofnatural phenomena, as well as the knowledge generated through thisprocess." This vast body of changing and increasing knowledge is describedby physical, mathematical, and conceptual models. Students should know thatsome questions are outside the realm of science because they deal withphenomena that are not scientifically testable.

(3)  Scientificinquiry. Scientific inquiry is the planned and deliberate investigation of thenatural world. Scientific methods of investigation can be experimental,descriptive, or comparative. The method chosen should be appropriate to thequestion being asked.

(4)  Scienceand social ethics. Scientific decision making is a way of answering questionsabout the natural world. Students should be able to distinguish betweenscientific decision-making methods and ethical and social decisions thatinvolve the application of scientific information.

(5)  Scientificsystems. A system is a collection of cycles, structures, and processes thatinteract. All systems have basic properties that can be described in terms ofspace, time, energy, and matter. Change and constancy occur in systems aspatterns and can be observed, measured, and modeled. These patterns help tomake predictions that can be scientifically tested. Students should analyze asystem in terms of its components and how these components relate to eachother, to the whole, and to the external environment.

(c)  Knowledgeand skills.

(1)  Thestudent, for at least 40% of instructional time, conducts laboratory and fieldinvestigations using safe, environmentally appropriate, and ethical practices.These investigations must involve actively obtaining and analyzing data withphysical equipment, but may also involve experimentation in a simulatedenvironment as well as field observations that extend beyond the classroom. Thestudent is expected to:

(A)  demonstratesafe practices during laboratory and field investigations; and

(B)  demonstratean understanding of the use and conservation of resources and the properdisposal or recycling of materials.

(2)  Thestudent uses scientific methods and equipment during laboratory and fieldinvestigations. The student is expected to:

(A)  knowthe definition of science and understand that it has limitations, as specifiedin subsection (b)(2) of this section;

(B)  knowthat scientific hypotheses are tentative and testable statements that must becapable of being supported or not supported by observational evidence.Hypotheses of durable explanatory power which have been tested over a widevariety of conditions are incorporated into theories;

(C)  knowscientific theories are based on natural and physical phenomena and are capableof being tested by multiple independent researchers. Unlike hypotheses,scientific theories are well-established and highly-reliable explanations, butthey may be subject to change as new areas of science and new technologies aredeveloped;

(D)  distinguishbetween scientific hypotheses and scientific theories;

(E)  planand implement descriptive, comparative, and experimental investigations,including asking questions, formulating testable hypotheses, and selectingequipment and technology;

(F)  collectand organize qualitative and quantitative data and make measurements withaccuracy and precision using tools such as calculators, spreadsheet software,data-collecting probes, computers, standard laboratory glassware, microscopes,various prepared slides, stereoscopes, metric rulers, electronic balances, gelelectrophoresis apparatuses, micropipettors, hand lenses, Celsius thermometers,hot plates, lab notebooks or journals, timing devices, cameras, Petri dishes,lab incubators, meter sticks, and models, diagrams, or samples of biologicalspecimens or structures;

(G)  analyze,evaluate, make inferences, and predict trends from data; and

(H)  communicatevalid conclusions supported by the data through methods such as lab reports,labeled drawings, graphic organizers, journals, summaries, oral reports, andtechnology-based reports.

(3)  Thestudent uses critical thinking, scientific reasoning, and problem solving tomake informed decisions within and outside the classroom. The student isexpected to:

(A)  inall fields of science, analyze, evaluate, and critique scientific explanationsby using empirical evidence, logical reasoning, and experimental andobservational testing, including examining all sides of scientific evidence ofthose scientific explanations, so as to encourage critical thinking by thestudent;

(B)  communicateand apply scientific information extracted from various sources such as currentevents, news reports, published journal articles, and marketing materials;

(C)  drawinferences based on data related to promotional materials for products andservices;

(D)  evaluatethe impact of scientific research on society and the environment;

(E)  evaluatemodels according to their limitations in representing biological objects orevents; and

(F)  researchand describe the history of science and contributions of scientists.

(4)  Thestudent explores the history, legal responsibilities, and career options forforensic science. The student is expected to:

(A)  distinguishbetween forensic science and criminalistics in law, public safety, corrections,and security;

(B)  identifyroles, functions, and responsibilities of forensic science professionals;

(C)  summarizethe ethical standards required of a forensic science professional;

(D)  presentcareer information in written and verbal formats;

(E)  recognizethe major contributors to the development of forensic science; and

(F)  illustratethe history of forensic science.

(5)  Thestudent recognizes the procedures of evidence collection while maintaining theintegrity of a crime scene. The student is expected to:

(A)  analyzethe role of scientists such as forensic pathologists and anthropologists asthey relate to a homicide investigation;

(B)  demonstratethe ability to work as a member of a team;

(C)  conducta systematic search of a simulated crime scene for physical evidence followingcrime scene protocol;

(D)  applyknowledge of the elements of criminal law that guide search and seizure ofpersons, property, and evidence;

(E)  describethe elements of a crime scene sketch such as measurements, compass directions,scale of proportion, legend, key, and title;

(F)  developa crime scene sketch using triangulation, rectangular coordinates,straight-line methods, and use of coordinates on transecting baseline;

(G)  outlinethe chain of custody procedure for evidence discovered in a crime scene;

(H)  demonstrateproper techniques for collecting and packaging physical evidence found at acrime scene;

(I)  explainthe functions of national databases available to forensic scientists; and

(J)  collectand preserve physical evidence from a simulated crime scene.

(6)  Thestudent analyzes the evidence collected from a crime scene using scientificmethods. The student is expected to:

(A)  demonstrateconversions of measurements between English and International System (SI) ofunits;

(B)  distinguishbetween physical and chemical properties of matter using the periodic table;

(C)  determinethe elements within a compound or mixture;

(D)  identifythe four types of chemical reactions;

(E)  explainproperties of refractive index;

(F)  explaindispersion of light through a prism;

(G)  identifythe light sources used in forensic science such as ultraviolet light;

(H)  explainthe examination of trace evidence using instruments such as aspectrophotometer, stereoscope, electron microscope, and compound microscope;

(I)  calculatethe direction of a projectile by examining glass fractures; and

(J)  comparethe composition of glass fragments.

(7)  Thestudent recognizes the methods to process and analyze trace evidence commonlyfound in a crime scene. The student is expected to:

(A)  performcontinuous and light emissions laboratory procedures to identify traceevidence;

(B)  processtrace evidence such as soil, grass, glass, blood, fibers, and hair collected ina simulated crime scene;

(C)  comparethe anatomy of the human hair to animal hair; and

(D)  differentiatebetween natural and manufactured fibers.

(8)  Thestudent analyzes fingerprints in forensic science. The student is expected to:

(A)  comparethe three major fingerprint patterns of arches, loops, and whorls and theirrespective subclasses;

(B)  identifycharacteristics of fingerprints, including bifurcations, ending ridges, ridgeislands, dots, short ridges, and divergence ridges;

(C)  distinguishamong visible, plastic, and latent fingerprints;

(D)  performlaboratory procedures for lifting latent prints on porous and nonporous objectsusing chemicals such as iodine, ninhydrin, silver nitrate, and cyanoacrylateresin;

(E)  performlaboratory procedures for lifting latent prints on nonporous objects usingfingerprint powders such as black powder and florescent powders;

(F)  explainthe Automatic Fingerprint Identification System; and

(G)  comparefingerprints collected at a simulated crime scene with the fingerprints of asuspect.

(9)  Thestudent analyzes blood spatter at a simulated crime scene. The student isexpected to:

(A)  analyzeblood stain patterns based on source, direction, and angle of trajectory; and

(B)  explainthe method of chemically isolating an invisible blood stain using reagents suchas luminol.

(10)  Thestudent explores toxicology laboratory procedures in forensic science. Thestudent is expected to:

(A)  explainthe absorption, distribution, and elimination of alcohol through the humanbody;

(B)  describethe blood alcohol laboratory procedures as they relate to blood alcoholconcentration;

(C)  explainthe levels of tolerance and impairment due to alcohol consumption; and

(D)  explainthe precautions necessary in the forensic laboratory for proper preservation ofblood samples.

(11)  Thestudent explores serology laboratory procedures in forensic science. Thestudent is expected to:

(A)  explainforensic laboratory procedures to determine if a stain detected in a crimescene is blood;

(B)  identifythe red blood cell antigens and antibodies as they relate to human blood types;

(C)  determinegenotypes and phenotypes in the human red blood cell system using PunnetSquares; and

(D)  researchmethodologies used to collect and analyze other body fluids.

(12)  Thestudent analyzes deoxyribonucleic acid laboratory procedures in forensicscience. The student is expected to:

(A)  diagramthe deoxyribonucleic acid molecule, including nitrogen bases, sugars, andphosphate groups;

(B)  explainbase pairing of adenine, thymine, cytosine, and guanine as they relate todeoxyribonucleic acid fingerprinting;

(C)  extractdeoxyribonucleic acid from food such as peas and strawberries;

(D)  explainthe polymerase chain reaction laboratory procedure for forensicdeoxyribonucleic acid typing; and

(E)  collectand package deoxyribonucleic acid from a simulated crime scene.

(13)  Thestudent identifies drugs found at a simulated crime scene. The student isexpected to:

(A)  classifycontrolled substances using Food and Drug Administration classification; and

(B)  identifycontrolled substances using laboratory procedures such as color test reactions,microcrystalline procedures, chromatography, and spectrophotometry.

(14)  Thestudent evaluates bullet and tool mark impressions in a criminal investigation.The student is expected to:

(A)  explainthe individual characteristics of tool marks;

(B)  recognizecharacteristics of bullet and cartridge cases;

(C)  explainlaboratory methodologies used to determine whether an individual has fired aweapon such as identifying gun shot residue; and

(D)  recognizethe type of information available through the National Integrated BallisticsInformation Network.

(15)  Thestudent explores principles of anthropology relevant to forensic science. Thestudent is expected to:

(A)  identifythe major bones of the human skeletal system;

(B)  comparecomposition and structure of human bones with other animals;

(C)  describethe techniques used to excavate bones from a crime scene;

(D)  determineunique characteristics of the human skeletal system such as gender and age;

(E)  explainthe role of dental records in identification of remains; and

(F)  describethe role of dental matching in forensic science.

(16)  Thestudent calculates the time and cause of death in relationship to decompositionof the human body. The student is expected to:

(A)  explainthe process and timeline of rigor mortis and its role in calculating time ofdeath;

(B)  explainpost mortem lividity and its importance when processing a crime scene;

(C)  determinetime of death using entomology; and

(D)  determinetime and cause of death through case studies.

Source: Theprovisions of this §130.295 adopted to be effective August 23, 2010, 34 TexReg5935




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