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The Case of the Deadly Spoons

Abstract
A role-play scenario as a forensic scientist solving a possible crime involving a soup spoon where measuring and performing calculations with density are needed. Mock forensic materials are provided as well as links to other materials.

Learning Objectives

! Measure the density of uniform objects ! Measure the density of irregular objects
using water displacement

Logistics
Time Required

! Calculate density from measurements ! Calculate mass and volume from density in
when given one other variable.

! Write up a report and suggest a cause for


the death using data to support the hypothesis.

! Class time: 80 - 120 minutes ! Prep time: 20 - 40 minutes


Prior Viewing

! Forensic Scientist career video


http://www.careergirls.org/careers/forensic-scientist

! Archimedes principle (TedEd)


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ijj58xD5fDI

Student Instructions
1. Practice your measuring and calculating skills with the density cylinders before you attempt to solve the crime. Remember to try Archimedes Principle to measure volume. 2. You suspect that the victim was poisoned so you are testing the metal of the spoons found in the victims home. Find out the identity of the spoon by comparing its density to the density of known metals. 3. Fill out a report stating your findings, your suggested cause of death and use data to support your hypothesis.

Materials Student handouts, density cylinders, lead shot, brass shot, zinc shot, graduated cylinders, scale or balance, rulers, evidence and report folder Density Cylinders ~$12/set
http://www.flinnsci.com/store/Scripts/prodView.asp?idproduct=14977

Lead strips ~8 (hazardous, read MSDS)


http://www.flinnsci.com/store/Scripts/prodView.asp?idproduct=19639

Lead shot ~$15 (hazardous, read MSDS)


http://www.flinnsci.com/store/Scripts/prodView.asp?idproduct=19662

Brass shot ~$13


http://www.flinnsci.com/store/Scripts/prodView.asp?idproduct=17811

Zinc shot ~$15


http://www.flinnsci.com/store/Scripts/prodView.asp?idproduct=21731

Aluminum shot ~$7


http://www.flinnsci.com/store/Scripts/prodView.asp?idproduct=13697

Appropriate For

! 7 - 9th grade students

Teacher Recommendations
This is a role-play activity where students pretend to be forensic scientists and must measure, calculate and report their findings. You are the head of the department and are available to consult with each scientist when necessary. Remind them that real scientists do consult other scientists and experts (you are the expert) on occasion, so they are allowed to talk to their classmates. This lesson gives you the chance to walk around and help any struggling students one-on-one as they hone their measuring skills and density calculation skills. Some students will work much faster than others and they can become experts that can consult with the other scientists in the room once youve checked their work. Set up: This will be more engaging for students if you create evidence folders with the report form, data sheet, bagged metals and evidence with evidence tag. You may want students to work in pairs or small groups to save on materials or time. Place 10-20 pieces of shot in a ziplock bag and label them (lead, aluminum, brass, zinc) with four bags in total, and put an evidence tag on a bag with the lead strip in it Remind your scientists that lead is toxic (gloves, goggles, aprons). Each student can write a report.

Assessment
The format of this lesson allows you to constantly work with students individually to assess their progress and teach or re-teach concepts. Tutoring is the most effective form of teaching and you are able to essentially tutor any student who needs it while the class is working. Here are some tips for effective ongoing assessment in this lesson: ! Walk around the room and look to see if students have correct technique and conclusions (but do it without disrupting their flow if possible) ! If you see a mistake, instead of saying number three is wrong try asking a question like, why did you divide volume by mass? and have them guide you through their reasoning. Then you can lead them to uncover the correct answer for themselves. This process is more likely to lead to long-term understanding and memory for the student. ! Demonstrate good techniques in the lab and encourage them to monitor each other. Bend down to look at the bottom of the meniscus in a graduated cylinder at eye level on a flat surface, calibrate triple-beam balances before using them, read scales carefully, measure length with mm, etc. ! Remember, you are the expert forensic scientist in the room, keep your conversation professional and they will mimic you in their responses and behavior

Answer Key
Your specific classroom materials may vary, but a list of densities is provided for common metals you might use. Try the activity with your materials before assigning it. The victim was likely poisoned by chronic exposure to lead when he was fed tomato soup every day at lunch by his son. Lead reacts with the acid in the tomatoes, causing it to leach into the food, and gradually poison the person eating. Students can research lead poisoning as an extension activity.

The Case of the Deadly Spoons

Name___________________________Date__________Per____

Information: You are a forensic scientist who specializes in chemistry. The case you are presented with today will require precise measurements of mass and volume and thorough knowledge in calculating density. Your fellow scientists will also be testing the substances to ensure accuracy so that the evidence can be used in court. You will fill out a report stating your findings, your suggested cause of death and use data to support your hypothesis. Make sure you have excellent lab technique by first practicing your skill with the density cylinders. Once you are sure of your technique, open the case file and run tests on the evidence and known substances. Laboratory Skills and Technique 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. Write down a short description of the cylinder on the data table. Use the balance to measure the mass of each object and record it on the data table. Fill the graduated cylinder about 1/3rd to ! full of water. Measure the water level by reading the meniscus. Record the water level under the initial water level column. Drop an object into the graduated cylinder being careful not to splash any water out. Record the new water level under the final water level column. Repeat steps 4-7 for the other cylinders. Calculate density using the equation D = m/v where v is the actual volume found from the difference between initial and final water level. 10. Answer the questions at the end of the lab. Data Table: Cylinder description Mass Initial water level Final water level Actual object volume density

Analysis: 1. Which object was the most dense? 2. Which object was the least dense? 3. Describe how we could find the volume of a spoon using water displacement.

When you have completed the above tasks, have the supervising scientist check your work. You must get the supervisors signature before opening the evidence folder. Supervisor Signature ______________________________________________________________________

Evidence Report Form


Describe your procedure in detail

What substance is the evidence made of? How do you know?

What is your hypothesis for this case? (use your data to support your hypothesis)

I, _______________________________ , certify the findings and analysis above as accurate.


PRINT NAME

________________________________
SIGNATURE

________________________
DATE

CONFIDENTIAL CASE INFORMATION


Robert Bunce was found dead in his home on October 8th. He was sitting in his plaid recliner with a bowl of tomato soup with a metal spoon in his lap. His son, Robert Bunce Junior (Bobby) said he visits his father everyday and feeds him his favorite lunch, tomato soup. Bobby noticed his fathers health rapidly declining over the past month and said, I figured he was just getting old, and that his time was coming soon. Bobby also asked this of the coroner, do you know when I can collect my inheritance? Bobbys sister, Judith Bunce has accused Bobby of intentionally poisoning their father. The lawsuit has now gone to court. For Analysis: The spoon found on Robert Bunce has been cleaned and melted into a flat piece of metal. Find out what this metal is made of and report your findings. Use your observational skills and knowledge of density to support your conclusion. There are four metal samples for you to compare the spoon metal to. They are in the form of shot (small pellets). Read the safety information on each metal. Keep all information confidential and speak only to other forensic scientists working on this case. Data Collection:

Answers and Teacher Notes


Information: You are a forensic scientist who specializes in chemistry. The case you are presented with today will require precise measurements of mass and volume and thorough knowledge in calculating density. Your fellow scientists will also be testing the substances to ensure accuracy so that the evidence can be used in court. You will fill out a report stating your Its your important to mass the sure you have excellent lab findings, your suggested cause of death and use data to support hypothesis. Make objects first, because technique by first practicing your skill with the density cylinders. Once you are sure of your technique, open the case file and excess water from the run tests on the evidence and known substances. volume measurement can skew the mass. Laboratory Skills and Technique 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. Write down a short description of the cylinder on the data table. Use the balance to measure the mass of each object and record it on the data table. Fill the graduated cylinder about 1/3rd to ! full of water. Measure the water level by reading the meniscus. Record the water level under the initial water level column. Drop an object into the graduated cylinder being careful not to splash any water out. Record the new water level under the final water level column. Repeat steps 4-7 for the other cylinders. Calculate density using the equation D = m/v where v is the actual volume found from the difference between initial and final water level. 10. Answer the questions at the end of the lab. Data Table: !"#$%&!'(!&)*! Cylinder description Mass Initial water level +),-'.&!#/' 3453-' 3657'$+' .0&1,2!/' .

Final water level 3859'$+'

Actual object volume 458'$+'

density :5;6' -<$+'

Analysis: 4. Which object was the most dense? =>1?'*1&&'@#/0'2!%!,21,-'),'0)A/')(B!.C5'D1->',A$(!/?'#/!'2!,?!/'C>#,'&)*!/',A$(!/?5' 5. Which object was the least dense? =>1?'*1&&'@#/0'2!%!,21,-'),'0)A/')(B!.C5'D1->',A$(!/?'#/!'2!,?!/'C>#,'&)*!/',A$(!/?5' 6. Describe how we could find the volume of a spoon using water displacement. EAC'!,)A->'*#C!/'1,'#'-/#2A#C!2'.0&1,2!/'C)'.)@!/'C>!'?%)),'#,2'$!#?A/!'C>!'#$)A,C5'=>!,'%AC'C>!'?%)),'1,' #,2'$!#?A/!'C>!',!*'*#C!/'&!@!&5'FA(C/#.C'C>!'G1/?C'$!#?A/!$!,C'G/)$'C>!'?!.),2'#,2'C>#C'1?'C>!'@)&A$!')G' C>!'?%)),5 ' You, the teacher, are the supervisor. It is important that you roam the room and help students as they doscientist the lab. Sign the paper only if must get the supervisors When you have completed the above tasks, have the supervising check your work. You their work is correct. signature before opening the evidence folder. Supervisor Signature ______________________________________________________________________

Evidence Report Form


Describe your procedure in detail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

What substance is the evidence made of? How do you know? Q!'.),.&A2!'C>#C'C>!'$!C#&'1?'$#2!')G'&!#2'(!.#A?!'C>!'?%)),'>#?'#'?1$1&#/'#%%!#/#,.!'C)'C>!'&!#2'?>)C'#,2' >#?'#%%/)"1$#C!&0'C>!'?#$!'2!,?1C0'H335L'-<.$LI5

What is your hypothesis for this case? (use your data to support your hypothesis) Q!'>0%)C>!?1R!'C>#C'C>!'&!#2'?%)),'$#0'>#@!'%)1?),!2'S/5'T)(!/C'UA,.!5'+!#2'.#,'21??)&@!'1,'#.12'#,2'&!#2' 1?'#&?)'C)"1.5'V#C1,-'G))2'*1C>'#'&!#2'?%)),'1?'@!/0'2#,-!/)A?5'=>!'C)"1.',#CA/!')G'&!#2'1?')AC&1,!2'1,'C>!'SFNF' ?>!!C?5'Q!'>#2'C)'*!#/'-)--&!?'-&)@!?'#,2'#%/),?W'U)((0'$#0'>#@!'%)1?),!2'>1?'G#C>!/'(0'#..12!,CK')/'),' %A/%)?!K'(AC'*!'.#,XC'2!C!/$1,!'C>#C'%#/C5

I, _______________________________ , certify the findings and analysis above as accurate.


PRINT NAME

________________________________
SIGNATURE

________________________
DATE

CONFIDENTIAL CASE INFORMATION


Robert Bunce was found dead in his home on October 8th. He was sitting in his plaid recliner with a bowl of tomato soup with a metal spoon in his lap. His son, Robert Bunce Junior (Bobby) said he visits his father everyday and feeds him his favorite lunch, tomato soup. Bobby noticed his fathers health rapidly declining over the past month and said, I figured he was just getting old, and that his time was coming soon. Bobby also asked this of the coroner, do you know when I can collect my inheritance? Bobbys sister, Judith Bunce has accused Bobby of intentionally poisoning their father. The lawsuit has now gone to court. For Analysis: The spoon found on Robert Bunce has beenof cleaned melted The density one pellet is and the same as the into a flat piece of metal. Find out what this metal is made of and report your density of any number of pellets. Encourage findings. Use your observational skills and knowledge of density to students to use enough pellets to see a support your conclusion. noticeable change in volume. (10-20 should work) There are four metal samples for you to compare the spoon metal to. They are in the form of shot (small pellets). Read the safety information on each metal. Keep all information confidential and speak only to other forensic scientists working on this case.

EVIDENCE
CASE NO_____ITEM Data Collection:NO___ DATE____TIME____AM/PM

EVIDENCE
CASE NO_____ITEM NO___ DATE____TIME____AM/PM

EVIDENCE
CASE NO_____ITEM NO___ DATE____TIME____AM/PM

PLACE______________ PLACE______________ PLACE______________ V,.)A/#-!'?CA2!,C?'C)'./!#C!'#'2#C#'C#(&!5'Y)A'.#,'2!.12!'>)*'$A.>'?.#GG)&21,-'1?',!!2!2'>!/!'G)/'0)A/'


?CA2!,C?5'Y)A'.#,'2/#*'#'C#(&!'C)-!C>!/'#?'#'.&#??K'>#@!'C>!$'2)'1C'1,'?$#&&'-/)A%?K')/'C!&&'C>!$'C)'C/0'1C'),' REMARKS____________ REMARKS____________ REMARKS____________

OFFICER/TECH_________

C>!1/')*,5'=>!0'.#,'!#?1&0'$)2!&'C>!1/'C#(&!'#GC!/'C>!'),!'A?!2'1,'C>!'%/#.C1.!'&#(5'

OFFICER/TECH_________

OFFICER/TECH_________

V,.)A/#-!'?CA2!,C?'C)'#&?)'/!.)/2'#,0')C>!/')(?!/@#C1),?'C>!0'$1->C'$#P!'#()AC'C>!'?#$%&!?'H&1P!'C>!'.)&)/' )G'C>!'$!C#&?I'#?'C>1?'.#,'#&?)'(!'?A%%)/C1,-'!@12!,.!5'

EVIDENCE
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EVIDENCE
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DATEx____TIME____AM/PM DATE____TIME____AM/PM

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EVIDENCE
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EVIDENCE
CASE NO_____ITEM NO___ DATE____TIME____AM/PM PLACE______________ REMARKS____________ OFFICER/TECH_________

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These tags are for the melted spoon aka lead strip.