CSI: Exploring Forensic Science - Short Course

Short Course
CSI: Exploring
Forensic Science
Level 2
Specification for Junior Cycle

June 2014
Page   3    Short courses and Level 2 Learning Programmes

Page   4    Introduction to junior cycle

Page   5    Rationale

Page   6    Aim

Page   7    Links

Page   10   Expectations for students

            11    Strand 1: The work of a forensic scientist
            12    Strand 2: Scene of the crime/evidence collection
            13    Strand 3: Scientific laboratory testing / solving the crime
            14    Strand 4: Concluding the inquiry

Page   15   Assessment and certification

Page   18   Appendix 1:
            Level Indicators for Level 2 of the NFQ
3               Short courses and
Junior Cycle
Specification      Level 2 Learning
CSI: Exploring
Forensic Science
Level 2

                   In the new junior cycle, students taking this short course should be following a personalised Level
                   2 Learning Programme (L2LP) alongside other curriculum components (from Level 2 and possibly
                   one or two from Level 3). The L2LPs are planned around a number of Priority Learning Units
                   which focus on developing the personal, social and practical skills of students. In addition to the
                   Priority Learning Units, students can study short courses with learning outcomes aligned with the
                   level indicators for Level 2 of the National Framework of Qualifications (Appendix 1). CSI: Exploring
                   Forensic Science is an example of a Level 2 short course developed by the NCCA.

                   The target group of students for whom L2LPs and Level 2 Short Courses have been developed
                   are typically students presenting with significant learning needs. Formal assessment by an
                   educational psychologist will have placed these students in the low mild to high moderate
                   categories of learning disability and they will have had a personalised learning plan while in
                   primary school.

                   In this context, the L2LPs and short courses are designed for students who would benefit from
                   opportunities to improve learning and skills in areas such as basic literacy and numeracy,
                   language and communication, mobility and leisure skills, motor co-ordination, and social and
                   personal development. The L2LPs also offer the chance for students to improve the length of time
                   they can concentrate on activities, along with their capacity to generalise and transfer knowledge
                   and skills across situations and to process information from more than one sensory channel.
4               Introduction
Junior Cycle
CSI: Exploring
                   to junior cycle
Forensic Science
Level 2

                   Junior cycle education places students at the centre of the educational experience, enabling them
                   to actively participate in their communities and in society, and to be resourceful and confident
                   learners in all aspects and stages of their lives. Junior cycle is inclusive of all students and
                   contributes to equality of opportunity, participation and outcome for all.

                   Junior cycle allows students to make a strong connection with learning by focusing on the quality
                   of learning that takes place and by offering experiences that are engaging and enjoyable for them,
                   and relevant to their lives. These experiences are of a high quality, contribute to the physical,
                   mental and social wellbeing of students, and where possible, provide opportunities for them to
                   develop their abilities and talents in the areas of creativity and enterprise. The student’s junior
                   cycle programme builds on their learning in primary school. It supports their further progress
                   in learning. It helps students to develop the learning skills that can assist them in meeting the
                   challenges of life beyond school.
5               Rationale
Junior Cycle
CSI: Exploring
Forensic Science
Level 2

                   This short course is designed to develop the student’s science process skills at a basic level
                   - observing, communicating, naming, labelling, sequencing, classifying and measuring, in
                   addition to those of following procedures and problem solving. These skills are developed
                   through a number of interactive, fun, role-play activities and inquiry-based science experiments
                   in the context of solving a mystery crime. The student learns to work as part of a team, to take
                   direction from others and to take on a role with responsibilities appropriate to their ability.
                   Some students will have heard the term ‘CSI’ and may have a basic familiarity with the world
                   of forensic science from what they have learned through the TV programme or movies. This
                   can act as a reference point to start from. Others will have participated in related experiments
                   through the Discover Primary Science project during their primary school years and will bring
                   this experience to the course.

                   Activities such as learning about crime investigation methods and gadgets, collecting and
                   studying evidence at a crime scene, will help improve the student’s ability to apply logical thinking
                   in different situations and find solutions to problems. Learning to think critically and work
                   collaboratively are important life skills. Other skills for future life are developed through links
                   with the community, creative projects, numeracy, communication and literacy.
6               Aim
Junior Cycle
CSI: Exploring
Forensic Science
Level 2

                   This short course aims to facilitate the development of basic science process skills and other key
                   skills for life and learning such as working collaboratively, planning sequentially and thinking
                   logically. The skills gained through a focus on basic science are ones that can be used by the
                   student in many areas of his/her future life.
7               Links
Junior Cycle
CSI: Exploring
Forensic Science
Level 2

                   The tables on the following pages show how CSI: Exploring Forensic Science may be linked to
                   central features of learning and teaching at junior cycle.

                   Statements of Learning (SOL)
                   Statement                        Examples of related learning in the course

                   The student communicates         In each strand the student is asked to complete simple forms
                   effectively using a variety of   and follow verbal and/or non-verbal as well as written and/or
                   means in a range of contexts     pictorial instructions to carry out tasks. Items are identified and
                   in L1.                           described, and gathered as evidence. Receiving information and
                   SOL 1                            summarising as well as deduction are important to Strand 3.
                                                    Throughout the course, communicating as a member of a group
                                                    is encouraged. In Strand 4 there is an opportunity to present in a
                                                    role-play situation such as a trial or a TV/radio news programme.

                   The student observes             Individually and/or collaboratively the student is engaged in
                   and evaluates empirical          the collection and presentation of scientific evidence, measuring
                   events and processes and         and weighing as well as quantifying and sequencing across
                   draws valid deductions and       all strands. Evidence is also gathered in order to reach valid
                   conclusions.                     conclusions.
                   SOL 18

                   The student uses technology      The student uses digital technology at the appropriate level to:
                   and digital media tools          look for information; record evidence (photographic evidence in
                   to learn, work and think         Strands 1 and 2); produce a storyboard (Strand 3) and possibly
                   collaboratively and creatively   design or contribute to the design of a digital presentation
                   in a responsible and ethical     (Strand 4).
                   SOL 24
Priority Learning Units (PLUs)
   8               PLUs are the central curriculum components of Level 2 Learning Programmes. Each PLU includes a
                   number of elements which clarify the knowledge, skills and attitudes involved. The PLUs, elements
Junior Cycle       and their associated learning outcomes are set out in Level 2 Learning Programmes: Guidelines for
Specification      Teachers. The PLUs and elements identified below are considered central to this short course.
CSI: Exploring
Forensic Science
                   Priority Learning Unit     PLU element                   Student learning activities
Level 2
                   Communicating and          Communicating                 In Strand 3, the student might role-play
                   Literacy                   appropriately for a           as a CSI detective interviewing other
                                              variety of purposes           students as suspects or witnesses, to
                                              and demonstrating             obtain evidence.
                                              attentiveness as a listener   Throughout the course the student
                                                                            reads and/or listens to obtain
                                                                            The student may also present findings
                                                                            to an audience in Strand 4 in a variety
                                                                            of forms.

                   Numeracy                   Developing an awareness       In Strand 2, a number of experiments
                                              of weight and capacity        require the student to use a balance,
                                                                            measuring jugs and graduated
                                                                            cylinders, thus gaining an
                                                                            understanding of mass/weight and

                   Personal Care              Knowing how to stay safe In Strand 2 the student identifies safety
                                                                       hazards that may occur in a lab and
                                                                       the precautions to take to avoid such

                   Living in a Community      Developing good               Taking on roles within teams is
                                              relationships                 important in science. In all strands,
                                                                            the student learns to communicate
                                                                            appropriately with different people,
                                                                            whether peers, teachers, members of
                                                                            the community or visiting speakers,
                                                                            and to participate cooperatively in
                                                                            group situations.

                   Preparing for Work         Being able to set goals for   The student has various targets to
                                              learning                      work towards e.g. completion of an
                                                                            experiment and identification of a
                                                                            substance in Strand 1. Throughout
                                                                            the course the student learns the
                                                                            importance of sequencing tasks in order
                                                                            to reach a goal and of revisiting tasks
                                                                            and working on them over a period of
9               Course overview
Junior Cycle
CSI: Exploring
Forensic Science
Level 2

                   Strand 1:         The work of a forensic scientist

                   Strand 2:         Scene of the crime / evidence collection

                   Strand 3:         Scientific laboratory testing / solving the crime

                   Strand 4:         Concluding the inquiry

                   The strands should be followed in the order in which they are presented.

                   The course has been designed for approximately 100 hours of student engagement.

                   The learning outcomes of this course are aligned with the Level Indicators for Level 2 of the
                   National Framework of Qualifications (Appendix 1).

                   Note that the nature and number of learning outcomes in the course reflects the approach of
                   structuring and scaffolding learning for the particular target group of the student working on
                   Level 2 Learning Programmes.

                   Getting started
                   Before the student begins, some time is spent introducing and discussing the course to establish
                   how it fits with and can enhance the student’s personalised learning programme. Prior knowledge
                   and interests can be established. The student’s strengths, and areas needing improvement,
                   are discussed in the context of the PLUs to establish personal development and learning goals.
                   Considerable time will need to be given to developing the skills of observation and inference from
                   evidence, before proceeding to a mock crime scene. Key vocabulary and concepts may need to be
                   explicitly taught.
10               Expectations
Junior Cycle
CSI: Exploring
                   for students
Forensic Science
Level 2

                   With the publication of the specification online, examples of student work will be used to illustrate
                   the expectations for students in the short course. These annotated examples will relate directly to
                   a learning outcome or groups of learning outcomes.

                   In the case of short courses in new areas of learning, such as CSI: Exploring Forensic Science, some
                   indicative examples of student work will be generated to guide teachers and students during the
                   introductory years of the course.
11               Strand 1: The work
Junior Cycle
CSI: Exploring
                   of a forensic scientist
Forensic Science
Level 2

                   Learning outcomes1
                   Students learn about...          Students should be able to…

                   The terminology and              1.1.   use the terms crime scene, evidence, suspect, scientist,
                   processes of forensic science           detective, contamination and other relevant terms
                                                    1.2. make observations and inferences about a crime scene
                                                         photograph (what’s missing, broken, out of place)
                                                    1.3. identify the people involved in processing a crime scene
                                                    1.4. sequence the steps involved in processing a crime scene

                   The various types of physical 1.5.      identify from a list, potential sources of physical evidence;
                   evidence that can be found at           fingerprints, hair and fibres, impression evidence such as
                   a crime scene                           tyre tracks, footprints and teeth marks
                                                    1.6. communicate how evidence is left behind at a scene, e.g.
                                                         contact, impression, force
                                                    1.7.   demonstrate understanding of the various evidence
                                                           collection techniques e.g. use fingerprinting techniques
                                                           on peers, identify patterns of fingerprints, observe their
                                                           fingerprints and classify their prints as arch, loop, or whorl

                   Forensic experiments1 Learn      1.8. list materials required for the experiments
                   to use the tools and methods     1.9.   organise materials for a task
                   of a crime scene investigator
                                                    1.10. follow verbal, written or pictorial instructions with a small
                                                          number of steps
                                                    1.11. work collaboratively with others
                                                    1.12. identify substances through basic experiments, using a key
                                                    1.13. use a microscope, where available, to conduct basic
                                                          comparisons between samples
                                                    1.14. record findings by talking/signing or writing or using ICT
                                                          and sketching in a journal

                   Working safely and precisely     1.15. identify safety hazards that may occur in a lab and the
                   with science equipment                 precautions to take to avoid such hazards
                                                    1.16. list ways in which a crime scene may be contaminated
                                                    1.17. use a measuring jug and a graduated cylinder to measure a
                                                          specific volume of liquid
                                                    1.18. use weighing scales/balance to get a specific mass of a dry

                   1 Experiments might include white powder analysis; hair analysis; paper chromatography
12               Strand 2:
Junior Cycle
Specification      Scene of the crime/
                   evidence collection
CSI: Exploring
Forensic Science
Level 2

                   Learning outcomes
                   Students learn about...     Students should be able to…

                   Finding evidence            2.1. identify sources of evidence at crime scenes

                                               2.2. sequence steps for recording evidence at crime scenes (first,
                                                    next, then…)

                                               2.3. make observations at a mock crime scene and deduce what
                                                    might yield evidence

                                               2.4. identify, from a written or pictorial list, what laboratory
                                                    tests can be performed on the physical evidence at the

                   Processing and collecting   2.5. follow a series of spoken/signed or pictorial instructions
                   evidence properly                under supervision

                                               2.6. with assistance, collect evidence such as fabric fibres and
                                                    fingerprints/footprints without contamination

                                               2.7.   estimate and measure related objects

                                               2.8. record findings (writing/drawing/using ICT/differentiated

                                               2.9.   use basic functions on a digital camera, which may include
                                                      uploading photos to a computer
13               Strand 3: Scientific
Junior Cycle
Specification      laboratory testing /
                   solving the crime
CSI: Exploring
Forensic Science
Level 2

                   Learning outcomes
                   Students learn about...        Students should be able to…

                   Gathering evidence from        3.1.   listen to obtain information
                                                  3.2. demonstrate good practice when collecting evidence,
                                                       selecting and using appropriate measurement tools

                                                  3.3. with prompts, make decisions about which information
                                                       from a witness interview is useful

                                                  3.4. identify the key questions to answer in helping to solve the
                                                       crime, e.g. Who was here last? Who wrote this note?

                   Applying their previous         3.5. repeat/carry out further laboratory tests to those in Strand
                   course laboratory activities to      1 for comparisons
                   solve a crime
                                                   3.6. demonstrate understanding of cause and effect

                   Developing a theory/motive/    3.7.   identify simple patterns and classifications suggested by an
                   story related to the crime            exploration of evidence gathered
                   scene being investigated
                                                  3.8. explain the basis for groupings using differences in

                                                  3.9.   make rudimentary predictions about a possible suspect
                                                         based on observations, information gathering and clues, or
                                                         evidence they can measure using simple equipment

                                                  3.10. create an uncomplicated storyboard/timeline which
                                                        demonstrates their theory of what happened
14               Strand 4: Concluding
Junior Cycle
CSI: Exploring
                   the inquiry
Forensic Science
Level 2

                   Learning outcomes
                   Students learn about...      Students should be able to…

                   Preparing to present         4.1. identify the steps required to complete a task
                                                4.2. put steps into a logical sequence or order

                                                4.3. create a timeline tracing the procedures carried out

                                                4.4. create a visual representation of the crime scene

                                                4.5. contribute to the planning of a conclusion to the crime
                                                     scene investigation which will reveal the solution to the

                   Presenting the evidence as   4.6. make an individual (or contribute to a team) presentation of
                   part of the forensic team         the evidence in the concluding activity e.g. written report
                                                     and/or oral presentation and or digital presentation to
                                                     peers or an invited audience

                                                4.7.   express personal opinions, facts and feelings appropriately,
                                                       e.g. expressing an opinion on the evidence to peers,
                                                       participating in a formal interview with ‘suspects’

                   Evaluating                   4.8. communicate what worked best in terms of experiments
                                                     conducted and investigative procedures followed

                                                4.9.   identify knowledge and skills developed and those they
                                                       wish to improve

                                                4.10. link learning to other areas of the curriculum and their
15               Assessment
Junior Cycle
CSI: Exploring
                   and certification
Forensic Science
Level 2

                   Ongoing assessment
                   This short course supports a wide variety of approaches to assessment. Some learning outcomes
                   lend themselves to once-off assessment, others to assessment on an ongoing basis, as students
                   engage in different learning activities such as planning, organising, sequencing, discussing,
                   explaining, predicting, investigating, conducting experiments and drawing conclusions. Emphasis
                   is placed on ongoing assessment and repetition of tasks to show progression, due to the difficulty
                   some students experience with information retention.

                   CSI: Exploring Forensic Science provides students with an element of choice in what they will
                   present for assessment and the format it will be presented in. It also provides opportunities for
                   students to set goals, meet deadlines and take some responsibility for gathering evidence of
                   learning for the portfolio of learning they generate as part of their Level 2 Learning Programme
                   (L2LP). Ongoing assessment can support the student on the learning journey and in preparing
                   for assessment related to certification of the short course. The school has the option of having the
                   student compile a hard-copy portfolio or an electronic portfolio for L2LPs. The portfolio provides
                   evidence of development and progression throughout the course and is used for both formative
                   and summative assessment purposes. Videos of the student carrying out tasks, being interviewed
                   or making presentations can all potentially be included as evidence of learning. Other evidence of
                   learning in the form of worksheets, reports, charts, drawings, mind maps, checklists of good practice,
                   student self-assessment sheets, learning journals/diaries or photos may also be included. The creation
                   of an artefact e.g. a detective kit is also possible.

                   Assessment for certification
                   Assessment for certification will be school-based. There are two assessment tasks involved:
                   Exploring a Mock Crime Scene Task and a Science Experiment Task. They carry equal weighting
                   and students must gain an Achieved grade on each of the assessment tasks for purposes of
                   certification. The assessment tasks will be undertaken towards the end of the course, as the tasks
                   involved cover all strands and a large number of the learning outcomes of the course. Work from
                   first year is not included as part of assessment for certification.

                   Exploring a Mock Crime Scene Task
                   This task can be undertaken following completion of Strand 3. The student is presented with a
                   mock crime scene (physically/orally/using sign language/visually/in written format). The student
                   listens/reads/observes closely and identifies one or more pieces of physical evidence which could
                   be tested to help solve the crime. A list of suspects may be drawn up based on evidence in the
                   mock crime scene and they may be interviewed. The task requires the student to select the most
                   appropriate measurement tools and /or technology to record and preserve evidence from the
                   crime scene. Appropriate scientific practices are identified to examine one source of evidence. The
                   student discusses or produces a basic plan, or uses pictures to represent the steps that need to be
                   taken, to examine this source of evidence.
Science Experiment Task
  16               The forensic experiment identified in the Mock Crime Scene task is undertaken on the chosen
                   evidence. The equipment necessary for the experiment should be identified. The student
Junior Cycle       should demonstrate an awareness of safety hazards and the need to follow safe procedures
Specification      when working in a laboratory. Some students may conduct the experiment, others may direct
CSI: Exploring     someone else, instructions being communicated orally if a disability precludes the student
Forensic Science   from undertaking the task. Another alternative is that the student may communicate through
Level 2            the correct selection of and sequencing of pictures illustrating the tools/steps of the scientific

                   Rationale for the assessment tasks
                   In this course, students develop their knowledge base and social, personal and practical skills in
                   addressing the learning outcomes across the four strands. The assessment tasks are designed
                   to enable the student to demonstrate the knowledge and skills they have learnt. As well as the
                   learning outcomes for the strands, the assessment tasks draw on the literacy, numeracy and other
                   skills set out in the Priority Learning Units (PLUs).

                   In particular, the assessment tasks for this course assess learning outcomes related to development
                   of basic scientific inquiry skills – keen observation, correct sequencing of tasks and communication
                   skills. The completed tasks should illustrate significant personal learning for the student.

                   The learning outcomes assessed through the Exploring a Mock Crime Scene task will depend, to
                   an extent, on the nature of the mock crime scene the student is presented with. Some that may be
                   included are

                           Strand 1                      Strand 2                   Strand 3                   Strand 4

                   1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 1.6,   2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 2.5,   3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.6,        4.1, 4.2, 4.3
                    1.7,1.10, 1.11, 1.14, 1.16        2.6, 2.7, 2.8, 2.9        3.7, 3.8, 3.9, 3.10

                   The main learning outcomes to be assessed through the Science Experiment task are

                           Strand 1                      Strand 2                   Strand 3                   Strand 4

                       1.1, 1.8, 1.9, 1.10,        2.4, 2.5, 2.6, 2.7, 2.8,   3.1, 3.2, 3.4, 3.5, 3.6,   4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.4, 4.5,
                   1.11,1.12, 1.13, 1.14, 1.15,              2.9                3.7, 3.8, 3.9, 3.10      4.6, 4.7, 4.8, 4.9, 4.10
                            1.17, 1.18

                   Features of quality
                   Features of quality related to student work on both tasks are set out below. In general terms, these
                   can be used by students and by teachers to support their discussions about and judgements of
                   work on the assessment tasks. More specifically, the features of quality are the criteria that will be
                   used by teachers to assess the student work. Grading will be on the basis of Achieved or Yet to be
                   Achieved. All of the features of quality need to be completed successfully in order for the student
                   to be awarded an Achieved grading.
Exploring a Mock Crime Scene task
  17               Achieved
                     • The sequence of steps involved in observing, collecting, recording and preserving evidence
Junior Cycle
Specification          from a crime scene are demonstrated

CSI: Exploring       • Evidence is collected using appropriate equipment
Forensic Science
Level 2              • Appropriate practices to examine one piece of evidence collected are named

                     • Information is conveyed using some relevant key terms and appropriate vocabulary

                   Science Experiment task
                     • The work demonstrates a basic understanding of how to conduct a forensic experiment on a
                       piece of physical evidence

                     • Appropriate methods are used to analyse physical evidence

                     • An understanding of how to conduct the chosen experiment is evident

                     • An awareness of the importance of safety procedures is demonstrated if appropriate

                     • Conclusions are drawn to solve the crime based on the results of the experiment

                     • Information is conveyed using appropriate keywords

                     • There is some evidence of sequential planning

                     • Rudimentary predictions and/or observations and/or emotional responses to the work
                       (aspects enjoyed/found difficult/would do differently again) are made.
18               Appendix 1:
Junior Cycle
                   Level Indicators for Level 2
                   of the NFQ
CSI: Exploring
Forensic Science
Level 2

                   This short course has been developed in alignment with the Level Indicators for Level 2 of the
                   National Framework of Qualifications. An award at level 2 reflects basic learning with well
                   supported direction. The range is narrow. Learning is developmental but may include knowledge,
                   skill and competence related to particular fields of learning e.g. aspects of literacy and numeracy
                   and within familiar contexts.

                   NFQ Level                       2

                   Knowledge                       Knowledge that is narrow in range

                   Knowledge                       Concrete in reference and basic in comprehension

                   Know-how and skill              Demonstrate limited range of basic, practical skills, including the
                   Range                           use of relevant tools

                   Know-how and skill              Perform a sequence of tasks given clear direction

                   Competence                      Act in a limited range of predictable and structured contexts

                   Competence                      Act in a range of roles, under direction

                   Competence                      Learn to learn in a disciplined manner in a well-structured and
                   Learning to Learn               supervised environment.

                   Competence                      Demonstrate awareness of independent role for self.
Specification for Junior Cycle
© 2014 Government of Ireland
You can also read