Lisa Duffin reviews a powerpoint-based crime task

CSI secondary CD-ROM
Peter Johnson
Peebles: Kitchen chemistry 2006 | PpSee website | £55.00 |

Finger print analysis

Source: iStock

This CD-ROM offers teachers support to run a murder mystery activity using PowerPoint software, and a practical forensic investigation suitable for KS3-4. 

The PowerPoint-based crime task requires pupils to solve the murder of an English teacher. Pupils use the evidence presented, which includes DNA fingerprints, glass shards and GC analyses of a white powder found at the scene, along with statements from suspects, to solve the murder. This could be completed within an hour and differentiation is provided by pupils opting for one of two PowerPoint presentations at different levels, both of which are well presented and easy to navigate. 

Additional practical activities are provided but are not linked with the murder mystery. These include a PowerPoint presentation on blood spatter patterns, which confusingly switches between imperial and metric measurements, and a photofit activity where pupils identify matching eyes, noses and chins, which is fun. 

For those wanting to set up a 'wet' forensic investigation the CD-ROM contains instructions for the preparation of evidence. While none of this is beyond the capabilities of a technician, it would require considerable time to create. I feel the author could have significantly reduced the amount of preparation required by providing examples of lifted fingerprints and photographs of a crime scene, both of which are needed for the 'wet' forensic investigation. These activities would run for several lessons, but are merely an insight into forensic techniques and really need to be linked with a 'crime' to hold pupils' interest. 

This resource shows promise and a revised edition could be much more useful in the classroom.