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Class Introduction:Forensic Science I
Fall Semester 2017 (.5 credit)
Chugiak High School - Science Department
Instructor: Mr. Brian Mason
Classroom #: 227
Periods: 3 & 5
Course Objective: "Wherever he steps, whatever he touches, whatever he leaves even unconsciously, will serve as silent witness against him. Not only his fingerprints or his footprints, but his hair, the fibers from his clothes, the glass he breaks, the tool marks he leaves, the paint he scratches, the blood he deposits or collects - all of these and more bear mute witness against him. This is evidence that does not forget. It is not confused by the excitement of the moment. It is not absent because human witnesses are. It cannot perjure itself. It cannot be wholly absent. Only its interpretation can err. Only human failure to find it, study and understand it, can diminish its value." - Paul Kirk
Course Overview (subjects not taught in this order):
1. Fundamentals of Forensic Science - Introduction, history, basics of evidence gathering and overview of forensics.
2. Physical Properties of Evidence - Glass, soil, and sand analysis.
3. Genetics - DNA structure and function, genetic inheritance, DNA fingerprinting and analysis.
4. Document Analysis - Handwriting analysis, paper and ink, forgery, voice patterns, etc.
5. Biology - Odontology, Anthropology, Botany, and Entomology.
6. Print Analysis - Identifying finger, lip, tooth, shoe, tire, and eye prints and patterns.
7. Toxicology - Drugs, alcohol, and poisons.
8. Trace Evidence - Hair and fibers.
9. Serology - Blood, sweat, saliva, and other bodily fluids.
10. Crime Scene Reconstruction and Analysis.
11. Arson and Explosions
12. Pathology - Determining time and cause of death.
Homework, Labs, and Quizzes: Students are encouraged to keep an up to date assignment sheet and day-planner showing all assigned work and due dates. To assist you, my website will be updated daily- check it regularly. Parents: please ask to see our student's assignment sheet or planner periodically and use my website to check its accuracy. Homework will be expected on its due date before class begins.Late work may be turned in for reduced credit - specifically, the assignment will worth 65% of the earned grade but will not be accepted after a) ten days, b) the unit quiz, or c) the assignment has been graded and returned to the class as a whole. Quizzes will usually occur two times per month (some without notice!), and homework will be assigned 1-2 times per week. All assignments (classwork, labs, homework, etc.) will carry equal weight (100 pts) unless specified otherwise. Quizzes are worth twice as much as regular assignments (200 pts). There will be exceptions to this approach and they will be noted in class. If you are absent on the day of a lab or quiz the district guidelines regarding makeup's will be followed - be familiar with them.
Exam: The final exam will be worth 15% of your final grade.
Assessment: Individual assignments will be assessed on a sliding scale (highest percentage = 100%, with grades following in 10% increments) using the traditional classification scheme: A, B, C, D, F, and Incomplete. Quarterly meetings will be held to review each students progress in the course. At this time a participation grade will also be assessed (it will be equal in weight to one assignment).
Extra Credit: Students may arrange for extra credit projects by discussing them in advance with the instructor. EC work will only be arranged with students who have completed all of their regularly assigned work. On rare occasions the instructor may assign extra credit to the class as a whole, but do not expect it or count on it as a way to improve your grade. There is no substitute for regular and consistent effort.
Hint: Reviewing and discussing course material on a regular basis - not just the night before an exam - will help you greatly in this class.
1.Take this class - and your intellectual development - seriously.
2. Be on time and prepared to learn (materials and attitude).
3. Listen the first time instructions are given.
4. Follow all class and lab safety rules.
Attendance: Come to class every day. Since something different will happen in every class, you could miss out on some important stuff by not attending. In addition, the textbook is supplemental to class lectures and activities, not a substitute. As an added incentive, active participation during class can improve your grade substantially. If you miss class you are still responsible for any work assigned and/or material covered. According to the ASD policy, you will have 1 day to make up your missed work for each day that you are absent. When you are absent you MUST check either my website or the assignment list in class for missing work BEFORE you talk to Mr. Mason. Making up missed work is YOUR responsibility, though Mr. Mason will make every effort to help you catch up. The best time to talk to Mr. Mason about make-up work is during lunch or after class, not at the beginning of class when the bell is ringing. (As this class progresses, labs that take multiple days will become increasingly common and many of these will serve as the assessment/quiz for a unit. These labs are exceedingly difficult to make up as late work. Please, make every effort to be in class every day - particularly on lab days - and to be here on time. This is made especially important due to the frequency of group work in the class.)
NOTE: Fifteen absences from this class during the semester will prevent you from receiving credit!!!
Tardiness: I take tardiness very seriously. As such, I maintain a very strict tardy policy. Beginning on the 2nd week of school any student who is tardy (not inside the door when the bell rings) will be marked as tardy. I promise that this will be an active class; so missing even a few minutes is not acceptable. In addition, the Chugiak High School policies will be fully enforced. They are as follows:
5th tardy: 1 lunch work detail
6th tardy: 2 after school work details
7th tardy: Thursday school, 2:10-3:40 PM
8th Tardy: Referral to the discipline principal
Materials: Come to class with your binder, relevant notes/assignments, lined paper, and a writing utensil (pen is preferred). Any deviation from this routine will adversely affect your success - and therefore your grade - in this class. No passes will be given to retrieve materials from your locker!
Hall Passes: Hall passes will not be issued during the first or last ten minutes of class. Please don't ask. At other times passes will be given at a reasonable rate for valid reasons.
Plagiarism and Cheating: Academic dishonesty will not be tolerated. The first offense will result in a grade of zero for that assignment. The second offense will result in a parent/teacher conference and the involvement of the school administration.
Disclaimer: This is not a complete listing of class rules; these will be covered in greater detail during class time. In addition, I reserve the right to add or delete specific rules during the semester as long as I give you prior verbal notice.