Forensics in Math

I have been looking for ways to get students to use math that we learn outside of the classroom and I know that some of my students love mystery books and crime scene investigation shows.  So I have obtained some extra activities for my students to do that includes some forensics work.  Here are some ways you can include forensics in math.

  • Probability is the chance of something occurring.  It is calculated by dividing the number of favorable outcomes by the number of possible outcomes.  The theoretical probability of how a coin will land after being tossed 100 times is half. 50/50, if you actually flip a coin a 100 times, you will find the experimental probability, which may be 60 heads and 40 tails, whatever your result.
  • Ask students to define probability.  How high does the probability occur for a conviction to occur?
  • Regardless of their specialty, scientists use mathematics to help describe the world around them.  Forensic investigations use average growth rates of various structures in the human body, such as hair and fingernails, to decode clues left at a crime scene.  When using average growth rates, it is important to pay close attention to the units of measurement being used.
  • To illustrate how blood types are inherited, show a cross between a mother who has blood type O and father who has type AB.  The mother can contribute either an A or a B allele.  So this couple could have children of either blood type A or B.  Point out that the child would have a probability of 1 in 2 of having type A blood.
  • Explain how the laws of probability are used in determining the probability that a particular person's blood will match the blood found at a crime scene. 
There will be more activities included in the future.  Right now these are just a few questions to have your students use forensics in these questions.

How could you incorporate this in to your classroom?

1 comment:

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