Forensic Science Book Report/Case Study

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Forensic Science Book Report/Case Study

For this assignment, you will be required to read a book that involves a criminal case in which forensic science played a key role in solving. I would prefer it to be a true-crime book; however a fiction book will be accepted on a case by case basis with prior approval. This assignment not only ties in with the forensic science standards, but also with the common core state standards for reading and writing in the content area of science. The expectation for this assignment is that YOU become the expert on this case; you are the owner of the knowledge about this case and should be able to tell the class what you know from memory.

Below you will find an outline to help guide you as you read through your book. Filling it in as you read will help when it comes to creating your presentation for the class. Additionally, there is a point break down to allow you to see what I am looking for when it comes to grading your presentation.

Throughout the length of this project, you will be given 4 check-in dates when you will need to turn in a reading reflection so that I can determine if you are on track and how you are progressing through the project. I would prefer these to be typed and either printed or emailed for submission although I will have copies for you to use if needed. These will be counted as part of your classwork grade so please make sure that you keep up (i.e. you should not wait until the night before it’s due to start reading your book to complete the reflection). Procrastination is not going to work for this assignment. I realize that you all have many other responsibilities, which is why I am giving you plenty of time to work on this. Additionally, we will be implementing an in-class reading time to allow you time to read and work on this during the school day.

Your final presentation can be of any format that you choose (a PowerPoint, a Prezi, a poster, a display board, a website, video, etc.). There will be guidelines for the presentation in the rubric below and as long as the required components are there, you will get credit regardless of how you chose to present it.

Presentations will begin before winter break and will resume after winter break before final exams. Remember, the grade from your presentation will count towards part of your final exam grade, so make sure that you stay on track by following the timeline for the project.

Book Report Project Timeline

Due Date

What’s Due?

Point value

A day

B day

Tuesday 10/21

Wednesday 10/22

Book must be brought to school and shown to Ms. Rolen in class – this will be the first day of class time reading.


Wednesday 11/5

Thursday 11/6

First reading reflection


Monday 11/17

Tuesday 11/18

Second reading reflection


Monday 12/1

Tuesday 12/2

Third reading reflection




Friday 12/12

Fourth reading reflection


Monday 12/15

Tuesday 12/16

Presentations begin (sign up on the calendar in the classroom for your presentation day)


Reading Reflection

Name_______________________________ Date_____________ Period_______________

Book Title_______________________________ Author______________________

Pages read for this reflection_____________________________________________

Provide a brief summary of the chapter(s) you have read. Include major events, key turning points, or pieces of scientific evidence that has come to light.

Select a quotation from the book that has triggered your interest or emotion and write it below (include the page number in which it can be found).

Response, reaction, or reflection on the quotation you selected.

Points of confusion or questions you have at this time:

Select two questions to answer about what you have read in the boxes below.

1. Which part of what you read were you able to visualize the best and why? (visualization)

2. Who do you think would be interested in what you read and why? (critical evaluation)

3. Which part of your book are you having the most difficulty understanding? (personal evaluation)

4. What was the main idea of the section or chapter you read? (finding main idea)

5. What was the author’s purpose? Did they want to inform, entertain, persuade or describe? How do you know? (author’s purpose)

6. While reading, what is something new you learned and would want to share with someone else? (personal evaluation)

7. Would you recommend this book to someone else? Why? (critical evaluation)

8. Did you form any opinions while reading this part book? What is it and why? (personal connection)

9. What do you think is going to happen next? Why do you think that? (critical evaluation)

Question #_______

Question #______

Presentation Requirements

Your presentation should be focused around your visual aid (your PowerPoint, display board, etc.) You are expected to give a presentation (not just read off of your slides or board. Remember: you are the expert on this case. You should be able to give the audience enough information about the case that they do not have questions at the end. If they do have questions, you should be able to answer them.

Visual Aid Must include the following:

A visual timeline of major events throughout the case. 5pts

Visual representations of artifacts/evidence/people from the case,

for example, a copy of the ransom note, photos from the crime scene

or of evidence collected, pictures of the victim/suspect, etc. 5 pts

Diagram(s) of the crime scene(s) or other important places relevant

to the crime. 5 pts

Brief explanations/text about the case (I do not want to see a whole

novel of words in your presentation). 5pts

Timeline of the Crime Describe the suspects behavior leading up to the crime.

Was the crime premeditated or a crime of passion?

What events led to the suspect to commit the crime?

A psychological profile on the criminal(s). 5 pts

Details of the crime:

What events took place during the crime?

What evidence was left at the scene and/or other

evidence that was pertinent to the crime. 10pts

Focus on

the science Use your knowledge from this class (or research you have done)

in your to explain the science behind the forensic evidence. 10 pts


What good things did collectors do at the crime scene?

What mistakes did collectors make at the crime scene?

(Preservation of Evidence/Chain of custody) 10 pts

Events and behavior of suspect after the crime.

How did they make their getaway?

Did they do anything to cover up the crime? 5pts

Finding the How was the suspect found?

suspect State how the evidence lead them to the suspect.

What successes did they have that lead to apprehending the suspect?

What things hindered the case and may have given a false

lead away from the suspect? 10 pts

The trial The prosecution - How did the prosecution make their case?

What mistakes did the prosecution make? 5 pts

The defense - Did they plead guilty or innocent?

How did the defense try and dispute the forensic evidence?

What was the defenses overall plan? 5 pts
Other info How has science (technology) changed since this crime?

How would new technology effected this trial or outcome?

Any other interesting information about the case. 5pts
Your opinion State your opinion on guilty or innocent. State your opinion on their sentence. What would you have done differently?

You must use details and evidence from the text in giving your

argument. 10 pts
Citations and All resources must be cited appropriately, even pictures. 5 pts


Total = 100 pts

*You are free to use other resources if necessary in finding out information, pictures, diagrams, etc. However, you must remember to CITE every resource that you use. Proper citations are required!

Inaccurate or missing citations will result in loss of points.

Book Report Outline

Fill this in as you read to help you in developing your ideas for you presentation. You may need more space than what has been provided, so use as many outlines as necessary for your case. Don’t forget to write down the page numbers so you can go back and reference as needed.

Possible suspects

Who: Why: Motive:

Who: Why: Motive:

Page #s

Details of the Crime

Page #s


(Be specific and detailed)

What: When was it found: Implication:

What: When was it found: Implication:

What: When was it found: Implication:

Page #s

Evidence Collection

Good protocol:

Bad/questionable protocol:

Page #s

Suspect behavior after the crime

Page #s

Finding the suspect



Who was involved:

Page #s




Page #s

Science and Technology

Other interesting facts

How have things changed since the crime was committed?

Interesting Facts:

Develop your argument

Your opinion on the outcome:

Details and evidence you want to discuss in your argument:

Book List

This list is just to give you a general idea of the types of books you may read. If you have something else in mind, please run it by me first for approval.

The Lindberg Baby Kidnapping in American History by Judith Edwards

Catch Me If You Can by Frank Abagnale

Portrait Of A Killer: Jack The Ripper Case Closed by Patricia Cornwell

Evil Harvest by Rod Colvin

My Dark Places by James Ellroy

The Ultimate Jack the Ripper Companion by Evans E Skinner

Starkweather by Jeff O’Donnell

Forty Whacks: Lizzie Borden by David Kent

Devils Knot by Mara Leveritt

The Lives and Times of Bonnie and Clyde by E.R. Milner

The Sheppard Murder Case by Paul Holmes

The BTK Murders b Carlton Smith

Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi

The Only Living Witness by Stephen G. Michaud and Hugh Aynesworth

The Confessions of Henry Lee Lucas by Mike Cox

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

Killer Clown: The John Wayne Gacy Murders by Terry Sullivan

Ed Gein by Bill Cross or Anthony Woods

Deviant: The Shocking True Story of Ed Gein by Harold Schechter

The Jeffrey Dahmer Story: An American Nightmare by Don Davis

JonBenet: Inside the Murder Investigation by Steve Thomas

Ted Bundy: Conversations with a Killer by Stephen G. Michaud

The Professional Serial Killer and the Career of Ted Bundy by Bonnie M Rippo

Starkweather: Inside the Mind of a Teenage Killer by William Allen

Need to Kill by Mark Pettit

The Night Stalker by Philip Carlo

The Ice Man: Confessions of a Mafia Contract Killer by Philip Carlo

Gomorrah by Roberto Saviano

A Mind for Murder by Alston Chase

Ann Rule and Joe McGinnis have many true crime books!

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