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The Case of the Patent Pending: Paper Diagnostics in Forensics

Physical Science
Science and Society
Tools and Technology
Education Level
High School
Middle School
The purpose of this investigation is twofold: 1) To use the skills of scientific inquiry to uncover the most likely perpetrator of a crime, and 2) To employ a paper diagnostics tool as a forensics device for chemically determining whodunit. This activity culminates in the testing of “unknown” liquid samples collected at the crime scene and at the suspects’ home and/or place of work. Each sample will be tested for the presence of “cyanide” and “creatine” through a simulated chemical forensic analysis. Students will employ a novel paper diagnostics technique for determining the presence of “cyanide” and “creatine” in the samples provided. This only requires common laboratory material in small quantities.This activity requires students to work in teams of 4 in order to solve a crime. Each member of the group is randomly assigned to play either one of three suspects or the detective.
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