Critters on Cadavers: A Forensic Entomology Lab Activity

Critters on Cadavers: A Forensic Entomology Lab Activity


What Can Bugs Tell A Forensic Scientist?

In this lab activity, you will use forensics to teach your students about entomology. Students will first observe and record how various factors influence the development of an insect's life cycle using insects that are collected from a source of pork you provide. Using Framework Science Standard LS2 (Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics), they will then apply this information to a crime scene scenario in order to estimate the time of death, if the body was moved, possible suspect/victim interactions by identifying each species, and create a time line for the sequence of appearance of each species of insect found on the "body."

This kit has been aligned with all published National Standards. Pre- and Post-laboratory assessments and vocabulary words all target specific Science and Engineering Practices and common core standards. The teacher guide also contains specific "Did You Know" concepts that link the real world with scientific standards explored. A student copymaster is also included. This kit includes enough materials for 8 student setups.

Materials included:
2 Insect nets
9 Fine-tipped, featherweight forceps
8 clear rulers
2 thermometers
1 Box of latex gloves
1 Roll of pressure sensitive labels
10 jars with caps
2 Sleeves of petri dishes
1 Set of forensic insect identification cards
8 Sets of preserved adult flies, pupae, and larvae
1 jar of preserved larvae
8 dual magnifiers
15 Pipets
2 Mesh squares
2 Plastic spoons
8 Tent stakes

Materials not provided:
Piece of pork
Dissecting microscope
Ethyl alcohol
Paper towels

Time requirements:
Part 1: 45 minutes
Part 2: 1-2 hours
Part 3: 2-4 hours

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