We went to visit our local RCMP Forensic Identification Section this week with another local home learning family. I was immediately disappointed seeing the well lit and ordinary looking space, as if I was expecting to see a facility along the lines of the tv show, CSI. The real life version of those CSI jobs is definitely less glitz and more paperwork.
The kids learned about fingerprints. Where to find them, how to chose the right powder to dust them, dusting, examining and lifting. The favourite choice for dusting prints was without a doubt the magnetic powder. The magnetic brush was at least as interesting as developing the prints. We even had a chance to look at fingerprints fluorescing under a forensic light source. The kids each made and dusted their own prints and had a closer look under the magnify glass to see what pattern each finger had. The most common pattern is an ulnar loop meaning that the loops enter and exit from the little finger side of the fingerprint.
What patterns do you see on your own fingers?
The next demonstration was about tool marks and physical evidence. The kids had to match tool marks on a piece of wood to the tools that created the marks. This turned out to be a lot easier than expected.
We had a good tour of the office and saw where the RCMP take close up pictures of evidence and got to look in one of the portable crime scene examination cases.
The kids were all smiles as they walked out with their new laminated “Super Duper Know It All Ident Specialist” id badges. Made right before their eyes.