CSI: 4-H Crime Scene Insects

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This is a set of 4 lessons, each a hands-on activity in which 4-H’ers evaluate evidence collected from 4 different animal death scenarios. In each scenario, students investigate a sample of simulated maggots collected from a fictional corpse. By determining the postmortem interval during which the insects developed, students will analyze whether foul play was involved in the death.

This lesson has a fair amount of prep-work involved (cutting up all the pipe cleaner “maggots” to the right sizes, for example), but it really challenges students to interpret evidence and come to a conclusion. They also have to use a chart and environmental conditions to figure out what flies are present, and how long the body has been dead.

Link: https://fyi.extension.wisc.edu/wi4hstem/files/2015/02/CSIfinal.pdf

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1 review for CSI: 4-H Crime Scene Insects

  1. LessonHiveAdmin

    This resource isn’t aligned explicitly to NGSS, since it’s for 4H. But we’ve used this lesson on both formal and informal education settings, and it really gets students thinking! It definitely has all Three Dimensions of NGSS learning: Science Practices, Crosscutting concepts, and Core Ideas..
    We love the emphasis on data — measuring the “maggots” and then trying to work out how old they are, using a developmental table, is the first challenge. Then they have to use the crime scenario to develop a hypothesis on what happened to the animals. There is usually lively debate about the conclusions!

    We also like that these lessons focus on non-humans, which lets students have a little emotional distance from the violence that is often part of CSI lessons.

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