Crime Scene Investigation

Crime Scene Investigation



The Case of the Illegal Dumpsite

John Smith had worked for the same company in the shipping and receiving department for 15 years.  John was proud of his attendance record, and even though he wasn’t always giving his job 100%, he believed he was doing a good job.  Everyone goofs off at work part of the time, don’t they?

One morning when John arrived at work, he stopped at the bulletin board where new job listings were posted.  One of the postings was for a supervisor position in a department in which he had always wanted to work.  The pay was a nice increase too, and with the extra money, he could have his truck with the new tires and rims customized.  That night John filled out the necessary papers for the job and hurriedly turned them in the next day.

Weeks later, he and all the other employees that had applied, were called in for an interview.  John just knew that he would land the job.  However, when the person to fill the position was announced a few weeks later, another employee that had worked less time than John got the job.  John was furious at being overlooked!  That night when John clocked out and was getting into his car in the parking lot, he said, “I’ll get even with them for this.”

Tony Harris loved the outdoors and he loved photography, so many years ago when he relocated his family to a wetland area near a major river, he put his two “loves” together and started doing outdoor photography.  Some of Tony’s photographs had even been published in several naturalist journals.  Tony was very familiar with the wetland area and the wildlife because he spent most of his free time photographing there.

Tony had set out very early on a cool, crisp morning to spend the weekend camping and taking pictures at his favorite wetland area.  Tony was excited about his trip and the great pictures he expected to get so when he came across the cove with its terrible stench, Tony was unprepared for what he found.  In a tree-surrounded cove of the river, Tony found several dead waterfowl and turtles that had washed ashore.  When he examined them, there weren’t any markings to show injuries, and the animals appeared to have been healthy when they died.  Tony took several pictures of the area and the dead animals and decided to call the Game and Fish Commission when he returned home.

A new hunting season had opened and with it came lots of calls about poaching problems and hunting accidents.  Chelsea Brown had worked for the Game and Fish for several years since her graduation from college.  She had been raised to love animals and the environment so this job was great for her.  Today she was spending time in the office to catch up on some reports and to answer the hotline.  She was in a very relaxed mood when the phone hotline rang, and she took a call from a Mr. Tony Harris.  She remembered Mr. Harris from an awards banquet when the Game and Fish Commission gave Tony an award for some of his outstanding waterfowl photographs that they had published in their G & F magazine.

Tony reported the incident with the dead waterfowl and turtles he had witnessed in the cove and said he would send the photographs of the area and the dead animals to the Game and Fish.  Chelsea thanked Mr. Harris and told him she would make a report.  The call didn’t seem to be too serious to Chelsea at the time.  However, when Chelsea went to the G & F logbook to register the incident, she found numerous other reports called in from other hunters and campers stating that they had noticed a lot of unexplained deaths in the waterfowl and turtle populations in this area of the wetlands.  This couldn’t be ignored.  Chelsea said, “Guess we better get some people out there to check on this.”

When the Game and Fish officers traveled to the wetlands, they found more than just dead wildlife.  The scene they discovered might be the cause of the reported deaths of wildlife in this aquatic habitat.  Near the area of several of the reported hotline sightings, the officers found a large amount of industrial waste that had been dumped.  The waste included large piles of discarded plastics, metals, and wood.  A first inspection of the wastes didn’t give the officers a clue where the trash came from or who had left it there.  However, there were several deep tire tracks and shoe prints from a man’s athletic shoe in places where the ground had been extremely wet at one time.  Like many areas of the wetlands with clay-based soils, when the water had receded from this area, the tracks and the ground dried hard like cement.

There was a possibility that the waste could have a negative effect on the environment and the animals in the area.  The EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, would have to be called to help identify the unknown plastics, metals, etc. and to determine if they were or were not hazardous.  The officers closed off the area and the investigation began!


As a student, you will be a scientist on the team that the EPA sent to the wetland area to study the dump site and its effect.  You will work along with the people from the Game and Fish to solve three problems —

1.      What type of plastics and metal are dumped at the site?

2.    Could any of the plastics or metals cause death like the waterfowl and turtles?

3.    Who is responsible for the illegal dumping and subsequent clean-up and damages?


Devise a plan for a safe method of disposal for the trash found at the dump site? and an estimated cost for removal and damages.


Plastics, metals, tire tracks, shoe prints

Teacher Preparation:


ACTIVITY # 1 – Identifying Plastics

Handout – Industrial Park


Plastic Recycling Codes

Plastic Identification Tests

Plastics Tests

Types of Plastics PowerPoint

Toxic Plastics — Fact or Myth?  PowerPoint

ACTIVITY # 2 – Identifying Metals


Metals Color test

Metal Identification

Metal Properties 

ACTIVITY # 3 – Shoe Print & Tire Tread Patterns

Shoe Size versus Height Chart 

Sneaker Patterns 

Tire Treads

If the Shoe Fits  PowerPoint

Handout – Shoe Imprint from Dumpsite

Handout – Tire Tread Pattern from Dumpsite

Lab Investigations:

ACTIVITY #1 – Plastics Identification

ACTIVITY #2 – Metals Identification

ACTIVITY #3 – Shoe Pattern & Tire Track Identification


All Materials © Cmassengale


Cry of the Kalahari

Welcome to the Owens Foundation Home Page!
Copyright Owens Foundation


American zoologists Mark and Delia Owens work as conservationists . Delia Owens, Ph.D., B.S., and Mark Owens M.Ed., B.S., have conducted research and conservation projects on endangered species in Africa for 23 years. They met in the early 70s as graduate students at the University of Georgia, and soon discovered that they shared the dream of saving part of Africa’s vanishing wilderness. Shortly after they married, they auctioned everything they owned, and with $6,000, one-way tickets and back-packs, they headed to “the Dark Continent.” Beginning in 1974, Delia and Mark worked for seven years in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve of Botswana studying brown hyenas and black maned lions where they made landmark discoveries regarding both species. For the first seven years they lived in tents in Botswana’s Central Kalahari Desert. There they studied black-maned lions and elusive brown hyenas in an area so remote that the animals had never before seen humans. Cry of the Kalahari, their best-selling book, is a gripping and vivid account of their research and adventures.

From 1985 through 1997 the Owenses worked to rehabilitate a 5,000 square mile area in north Zambia by eliminating elephant and meat poaching for the benefit of the people and the wildlife living there. From 1986 to 1997 the Owenses developed the North Luangwa Conservation Project (NLCP) in Zambia, a multidimensional approach to wildlife conservation and resource development. When Mark and Delia arrived in North Luangwa, more than 100,000 elephants and several thousand black rhinos had already been slaughtered by poachers in the Luangwa Valley; each year 1,000 elephants were still being killed in the “North Park” alone. By 1997, elephant poaching was controlled in North Luangwa. The Eye of the Elephant, the second book by Mark and Delia, published in 1992 by Houghton Mifflin, details their efforts to reclaim the North Luangwa wilderness from commercial ivory and meat poachers.

In 1997, Delia and Mark returned to the US and began assisting grizzly bear conservation in North Idaho, which is one of the five remnant grizzly bear populations in the lower 48 states. Today, Delia and Mark continue their support for the people and wildlife of Zambia as well as working for grizzly bear conservation in the northwestern US.


Read Cry of the Kalahari by Mark and Delia Owens and view the two National Geographic videos, Eternal Enemies and Lions of the African Night. You will take three tests over the book and then write a paper on the book and videos.


Cry Quiz #1 – Read pages 1-118                           ____________________
Cry Quiz #2 – Read pages119-214                        ____________________
Cry Quiz #3 – Read 214 to the end of the book     ____________________

Format of the Paper

I.      Biography of Mark and Delia Owens
II.    Republic of Botswana
III.   Lion Prides
IV.    Brown Hyena Packs
V.     Ungulates of the Kalahari
VI.    Interactions of Predators and Prey
VII.  Fencing and Disease Control
VIII. Bibliography (all 3 sources – book and 2 videos)
IX.    Appendix (Must include 2 drawings from book – Map of Africa showing Kalahari location and Map of Deception Valley)

* The paper should be 6 – 8 pages typed (9-10 pages handwritten) NOT counting the bibliography or appendix.

* You must use font size 12, Times New Roman, Double spaced, 1″ margins.

* Include a cover sheet with the title, and your name and period.

Due ___________            Counts as a Unit Test Grade (200 points)

Delia and Mark Owens near Marula Puku Research camp in North Luangwa National Park of Zambia.
Copyright Owens Foundation



Description: The purpose of this experiment is to determine the types of pigments found in various vegetation. The students will gather plants, soak them in acetone and use coffee filter strips to separate the pigments. Then the students will determine the pigments found in each type of leaf. The pigments found in spinach leaves, lettuce leaves and marigold leaves are all different. Paper Chromatography is a technique that enables us to separate plant pigments. The pigments found in plants vary and the process of chromatography is important in the detection of the types of pigments found in each.

Needed Materials: Acetone fingernail polish remover, test tubes or other empty containers (enough for 5 containers per group), felt tip markers, coffee filters, pigment guide, masking tape, scissors, spinach leaves, mum leaves, iceberg lettuce and leaves of various plants found in your schoolyard.

Safety Rule: Avoid inhaling the vapors from the acetone and spilling it on your clothing.


Student Information: The following information will provide you with the steps for conducting your plant chromatography experiment. It is important to hold all of the variables constant except for those that are being manipulated. Constant (or controlled variables) would be such things as: the length of the filter paper strip, the amount of time the paper is left in the solution, the amount of acetone in the container, the size of the container being used, etc. Manipulated (or independent) variables would be those things that we change to see if the response will be different, such as: type of plant being studied. The responding (or dependent) variable for this experiment will be the different pigments found in each of the different types of vegetation.

The reporting form for this experiment is set up so that you can determine how many different kinds of vegetation you would like to use, the kind of container you would like to use and how long your strips of filter paper will be. Also remember that a good scientific experiment is repeated a minimum of three times. Therefore, your data will be more accurate if you conduct several experiments that are exactly the same and then compile an average of your data before submitting it.

Procedural Steps for Conducting the Investigation

  • 1. Collect two different plants from your schoolyard. You are going to test these two plants along with the spinage, mum leaves, and iceburg lettuce.
  • 2. Label each container with the kind of plant you are testing.
  • 3. Place a different leaf in the bottom of each test tube and crush it.
  • 4. Pour about 2 cm. of acetone (fingernail polish remover) into each of your test tubes.
  • 5. Let this sit twenty-four hours.
  • 6. Cut five strips out of the middle of a coffee filter.
  • 7. Place the end of one coffee filter strip in each of the test tubes. The solvent will travel up the paper, and as it does, it will dissolve and deposit the separate pigments.
  • 8. After twenty-four hours, check your results.
  • 9. Remove the strips of paper from the test tubes and lay them on dry paper towels that are labeled with the type of plant extract found on that strip.
  • 10. Use a magnifying glass and a pigmentation guide to determine the types of pigments in each extract.

Discussion Questions

  • What were your conclusions for this experiment?
  • What could you infer based on your conclusions?
  • How would you design this experiment differently the next time?
  • What types of pigments were found in each type of plant?
  • Did the color of the leaf affect the pigments found it them?
  • If the answer to the above question is “yes”, which leaves had the most variation in the kinds of pigments found in them?
  • Did certain leaves have the exact same pigments?
  • If the answer to the above question was “yes”, were the leaves similar in other ways?
  • Do you think the amount of sunlight a plant receives affects the pigments found in the plants? How could you test your predictions experimentally?
    • Would you expect to find the same results year round? How could you test your predictions experimentally?



Charity Day



Charity Day
October 11- 30

  • Each member is required to sell 5 Charity Day tickets
  • Each member is required to work 1 -2 hours on Saturday selling tickets at Belk’s
  • Ticket money ($25) should be turned in to the sponsor by Wednesday, October 27
  • Additional tickets will be available from the sponsor


  • Students selling 10 tickets will have a Pizza luncheon in January
  • Students selling 15 tickets will go to Magic Springs free