Experience the fun of the Forensic Fiber Evidence Lab! Students use four different tests to characterize known fibers and identify unknowns. Hands on learning!
Four Fiber Analysis Tests
The Fiber Evidence Lab provides the instructions for four tests. Do them all, or just the ones you have time/materials for.
- Microscopic Observation
- Chemical Reaction Test
- Flame Test
- Water Retention Test
This resource includes:
- Student Lab sheet – four pages long and fully editable. Lab instructions are on the Lab sheet for easy reference.
- A very detailed Teaching Guide with a materials list, how-to instructions, and classroom management tips / ideas for conducting each test.
- Google Form with ten multiple choice questions – see what your students have learned!
The Fiber Lab asks students to analyze six different types of fibers using the four tests. Then, they are given two unknown fibers, and use the tests to identify them!
Fibers listed on the lab: Cotton, Wool, Rayon, Nylon, Polyester, Acrylic.
Lab sheet is easily editable for more or less fibers to suit your classroom needs.
After analyzing the unknowns, students are asked open-ended questions about the tests they used. The questions open discussion of Objective vs Subjective tests and their value in Forensics.
Where to find fibers to use in the lab?
My favorite source is yarn (found in any craft or sewing shop, often at Walmart, or on Amazon). Yarn is easily cut into the right size for the Lab and comes in all the needed fiber types. Thrift store clothing can also be cut into small pieces and works great- just look at the tags for the types of fibers you need.
Other Materials Needed:
- Paper towels
- Weigh scales
- Bleach (optional: acetone and/or formic acid)
More resources for the Trace Evidence Unit to come! It will include Hairs, Fibers, Paint, Soil, Glass and Powders.
Currently available in the Trace Evidence Unit:
- Introduction to Trace Evidence: Locard Exchange Activity
- Human Hair Evidence Notes + Review
- Human Hair Lab
- Animal Hair Evidence Notes + Lab + Review
- Fiber Evidence Notes + Review
- Fiber Evidence Case Study: Wayne Williams
- Fiber Evidence Lab: Four Analysis Tests!
- Hair and Fiber Evidence Review Game!
- Hair and Fiber Evidence Test
Click HERE to see the full Pacing Guide and know how this resource fits into the whole Forensic Science Curriculum.
Click here to see a preview of the Fiber Evidence Lab resource!
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