Alternative Assessment Ideas for Forensic Science: Fundamentals and Investigations



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12. MINI POSTER SESSIONS

Mini Poster ideas, originally described by Brad and Carol Williamson, (NABT BioBlog April 4, 2012) provide an alternative assessment that:

a. Requires students to present and defend their topic.

b. Encourages discussion and student collaboration.

c. Encourages students to evaluate evidence and information.

d. Incorporates authentic peer review and formative assessment.

e. Includes technology though the use of computer generated graphs and charts and it can include digital images.

f. Allows for easy revisions.

g. Can be produced in a minimal amount of time and requires little space.

‘ h. Can be assigned either as an individual or team project.


To construct a mini poster:

1. Take two (or three) colored manila folders and glue or staple together to obtain a three (or four) page mini poster. (Remove the tabs)

2. Use Post-it notes to post headings.

3. Use a different color post-it note to add text under the headings/

4. Glue graphs or images to the small post-it notes

Peer review and Question Answer Poster sessions:

1. Divide the class in half

2. One half of the class remains behind to present and defend their posters; the other half of the classes rotates from one poster to another and evaluates the poster and presenter. (Approximately 5 minutes is spent at each poster)

3. Reverse step 2 several times so that the poster presenters become the evaluators and the evaluators become the presenters.

4. The instructor and the students should develop a rubric or guide to help to evaluate each poster and presenter.

5. Optional: Prior to the formal poster evaluations, encourage students to have at least one other student peer review their poster. Minor corrections can be completed prior to the formal poster evaluations.

Activities to be evaluated through Mini-Poster Sessions:

Example 1 Capstone Project 1 "Physical Evidence Case Studies." This is an excellent project for the first semester of forensics. Divide the class into teams of two. Each team selects a different type of physical evidence used in solving crimes. They become the “specialist” for that type of evidence.

Each team researches actual case studies where a crime was solved using that type of evidence. During the year, when you introduce a new type of physical evidence used to solve crime, the two student specialists or experts introduce the topic using a case study from their mini poster project. They provide information on the correct procedure for collecting that form of evidence. The team’s mini poster remains on display during that unit. Display all the mini posters at the end of the school year to review all types of physical evidence discussed in the course.



Example 2 Capstone Project 4 "Landmark Cases in Acceptance of Evidence." Students summarize the case and describe why the case was considered to be a landmark case.

Example 3 Capstone Project 5 “Analysis of a Forensic Science TV Episode” (or this could also be evaluation of a forensic novel). Students present a synopsis of the program or book. Students evaluate if the information depicted in the TV program or forensic novel is consistent or inconsistent with real CSI procedures. Any inconsistencies should be described along with an explanation of how it is actually done.

Example 4 Capstone Project 6 “Forensic Dumpster Diving-What the Garbage Can Tell Us." Students collect garbage and develop a profile for the person or family who discarded the garbage. Refer to Figure 2 in the Activity for a list of characteristics that can be discovered as a result of checking the garbage. Different students collect garbage from different households and through the mini-poster sessions display a Profile of the family based on the garbage.


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