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Book Review

Forensics in Chemistry: The Case of Kirsten K

“Forensics seems to have the unique ability to maintain student interest and promote content learning…. I still have students approach me from past years and ask about the forensics case and specific characters from the story. I have never had a student come back to me and comment on that unit with the multiple-choice test at the end.”

— from the Introduction to Forensics in Chemistry: The Murder of Kirsten K.

How did Kirsten K.’s body wind up at the bottom of a lake—and what do wedding cake ingredients, soil samples, radioactive decay, bone age, blood stains, bullet matching, and drug lab evidence reveal about whodunit?

These mysteries are at the core of this teacher resource book, which meets the unique needs of high school chemistry classes in a memorable way. The book makes forensic evidence the foundation of a series of hands-on, week-long labs. As you weave the labs throughout the year and students solve the case, the narrative provides lessons in why chemistry concepts are relevant and how they connect.

All chapters include case information specific to each performance assessment and highlight the related national standards and chemistry content. Chapters provide teacher guides to help with set up, student performance assessments, a suspect file to introduce the characters and new information about their relationships to the case, samples of student work that has been previously assessed (and that serves as an answer key for teachers), and grading rubrics.