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CSI Experiments for Kids

Updated April 17, 2017

Using a variety of CSI (crime scene investigation) experiments, it is possible to teach biology, chemistry and physics. Forensic science is exciting for kids because it provides an opportunity to help solve a case.

Biology

During a biology course, focus on CSI experiments that involve DNA, fingerprinting, dental imprints or body decomposition. The fingerprinting website provides information on the history of fingerprinting and all the steps needed to do your own fingerprinting experiments. The teeth impressions website similarly provides information to perform an experiment using dental imprints to find the guilty culprit.

Researchers in Tennessee use a lab called the "Body Farm" to learn about decomposition. Creating a "Body Farm" using fish from the local market makes it possible to record the rate of decomposition of the fish. Sun exposure, shade exposure, leaf coverings and burial can all affect the decomposition process.

Part of the fun of using CSI experiments to teach biology is actually having a case to solve. The Bones & the Badge website has four cases that use biology to solve the crime. The Dover "Body Bugs" case, The Reno "Bones in the Canyon" case, The Peoria "Body in the Water" and the New York "Burglary" case all work well for a biology class. The Cicero "Kidnapping" case uses biology and chemistry.

Chemistry

Jazz up a chemistry experiment like "What is that white powder?" by staging a crime scene and hiding the samples so they will need to be found before they can be taken back to the "lab" and tested. Another experiment, "The Flame Test," can be adapted with a little imagination to become a chemistry forensic activity.

Bones & the Badge's West Covina "Arson" case provides kids an opportunity to use their chemistry knowledge to determine if the fire was accidental or arson.

Physics

A physics class can create a gun battle using tennis balls rather then bullets. The gun battle might involve police, criminals and witnesses. Have the kids act out the crime and "fire" their "bullets" at each other. Victims of "gunshot" should lay where they got hit. The investigative team then uses testimony and bullet trajectory to re-create the battle and determine who was responsible for which hit.

Physics can also be used to determine how different types of blood spatter were created or how a car accident occurred.

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About the Author

Jamie Hobbs graduated from Central Washington University with a BAed. She has been writing for Demand Studios and Suite 101 since 2008. Mrs. Hobbs work has also been printed in Yakima Family Times.