Forensic Science Syllabus

Welcome to Ms. Rodriguez’s Forensic Science classroom!  I am glad to have you as my student and am looking forward to helping you succeed in this classroom.  Througout the school year, we will have the opportunity to experience Forensic Science through observation, experimentation and readings.


“Learning is the lifelong process of transforming information and experience into knowledge, skills, and habits.”[1] Therefore, this year, it is necessary that everyday you come prepared to learn about Forensic Science.  Even when you may find some topics more difficult than others, it is crucial that you do not give up.  It often takes several attempts before one masters anything, therefore, I will do my best to facilitate the learning process, but as the student YOU must contribute to your own learning.  Learning WILL require your own effort.


Course Description:

Forensic Science is a laboratory-based course in which students will apply their prior knowledge of biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics to the popular field of crime scene investigation.  Students will use a structured and scientific approach to the investigation of crime of assault, abuse and neglect, domestic violence, accidental death, homicide, and the psychology of criminal behavior.  Students will learn terminology and investigate procedures related to crime scene, questioning, interviewing, criminal behavior characteristics, truth detection, and scientific procedures used to solve crimes.  Using scientific methods, students will collect and analyze evidence through case studies and simulated crime scenes such as fingerprint analysis, ballistics, and blood splatter analysis.  Students will learn the history, legal aspects, and career options for forensic science.


Student Expectations:

  1. Be PREPARED for class EVERYDAY (bring appropriate materials and assignments to class)
  2. Be at your desk when the bell rings.
  3. Respect everyone and their property.
  4. FOLLOW instructions the FIRST time they are given.
  5. You are expected to gather any materials needed for the day as you enter the classroom. You will be assigned seating and are expected to sit there at ALL times, unless otherwise instructed.
  6. No electronic devices allowed unless the BYOD sign is displayed. (Electronics used when the BYOD is not displayed will be confiscated and turned in to the front office.  Parents will pick up the electronic device for $15)
  7. No food or drinks in the lab area.


Grading Policy:

Major—60%—Minimum of 3: Exams, Lab Reports, Projects, Presentations

Minor—40%—Minimum of 9: Daily work, Quizzes, Homework, Lab work, Binder checks


Excused Absences:

You will have the opportunity to make up missed work at the rate of one day for one day missed. If you had prior notice of the assignment, the assignment is due on the day you return to school.


Unexcused absences:

Students may not make up missed work.


ALL students will be given up to 3 additional school days to REDO a failing major assignment, with a progressive grade penalty of 10 points per day.  I have the option of assigning an alternative major assignment.


1.      Homework: Homework is intended to help you master the concepts covered in class through reinforcement. ALL homework assignments will be graded and will help you come prepared for the following day or will reinforce concepts covered in class.  It is absolutely necessary that you COMPLETE all homework assignments.


2.      Tests: Any student not making a passing grade will be allowed a retest with the highest possible grade of a 70. If you are absent the day of the test you will be allowed to make up the test the following school day, provided it was an excused absence. Note: No retesting on quizzes


3.      Laboratory Activities: Forensics is a very lab-oriented science, therefore requires that the student be able to produce meaningful lab results.  Most, but not all, lab investigations will be completed according to lab handouts.  Students are expected to make sure everyone in their group understands the material covered in the lab, and the lab results.


a.       Read and study laboratory activities to familiarize yourself with the purpose and procedures of the exercise.  You must follow ALL safety rules. ANY safety violation will keep you from continuing with the lab, and you will be given an alternate assignment (parent/guardian will be notified of the incident).

b.      Before the end of class, materials and equipment must be cleaned and returned to their proper place. 

c.       Lab reports will be due on specified days. Do not procrastinate.  Lab reports are part of your major grades and must be completed and turned in on time.

d.      Try never to miss a lab.  If the lab is no longer set up, I usually require that students write a paper on the lab topic in order to make up grades for lab.


Restroom Policy:

At the beginning of the nine weeks, students will automatically be given six restroom passes.  If you use only two of those six passes, your two lowest assignments grades will be dropped, provided you turned those assignments in. They will not replace zeroes! No one will be allowed to leave the classroom during the first or last 10 minutes of the period.



Three tardies equal one unexcused absence. Avoid truancy and get to class on time!



If you ever find this course difficulty and overwhelming, but I am here to HELP you.  Whenever you find that you are not able to fully comprehend one of the concepts or simply having a question concerning what is being covered in class, feel free to ask for help.  As previously stated, it is my duty to assist you.  Therefore, I will be available after school and if necessary in the mornings before school begins.  Email is another way I can be reached.


Academic Integrity:

Academic integrity is essential in this and every classroom. Cheating on exams or quizzes will result in a zero, and your parents/guardian will be notified of the incident.  When writing reports, plagiarism will not be tolerated and will result in a zero.


Teacher Area:

No student is allowed behind the teacher’s desk. NO EXCEPTIONS!


Substitute teachers:

A substitute should be treated with respect.  I will make sure that the substitute has sufficient assignments for the duration of the class period.  The substitute will be informed on the assignments that need to be turned in, and will be asked to leave notes to inform me of your behavior.



BYOD will follow school and classroom policy. If not being used, devices should be kept in your backpacks, purses, etc.


Tentative Course Outline:


Semester 1


Semester II


Introduction and History of Forensic Science


Bloodstain Pattern Analysis


Crime Scene Processing


DNA Analysis


Fingerprint Analysis


Drug Analysis


Hair and Fiber Analysis




Firearms Analysis


Document Analysis


Impression Analysis


Forensic Entomology*


Glass Fragment Analysis


Forensic Anthropology



1.      Pens (any color, but at least 1 black or blue)

2.      Scissors

3.      Composition Notebook

4.      Highlighters (pack of 5)

5.      Dry erase markers (minimum 4)

6.      Dividers (pack of 5)

7.      School box (you will be allowed to leave in class)

8.      1 ½ to 2 inch binder (must have clear pocket in the front)