Crime Does Pay (in the World of Education)

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Science Club – an after school science engagement program that I run with Carolyn Jahn at the Robert R. McCormick Boys & Girls Club – had a special guest last week.  Ms. Lisa Gilbert from the Illinois State Crime Lab visited the club to tell the kids about her work as a latent fingerprint examiner. She handles more than 250 cases per year, collecting prints, analyzing them, and in some cases, presenting the evidence at trial.

Lisa brought a fun activity where the kids were able to “develop” their own invisible fingerprint left on a Post-It note, using the same technique Lisa uses in the lab. She also brought an activity where the kids had to match a fingerprint to the suspect. As they say in the small-town newspaper, a great time was had by all.

Her visit was a perfect compliment to Science Club’s CSI-theme this quarter. The scenario: the site director’s backpack was stolen, and the thief left behind a host of evidence: hair, a ransom note, blood, and fingerprints - a pic from our crime scene is above. The kids have scientifically analyzed it all (and done a really nice job, I should add). They’ll present their results next week at a mock trial at NU law school!

Let’s hope they catch that crook.

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