Fall 2013

Instructor: Dr. Renee Beeton

Office: Porter Hall, Room 303

Office Hours: T 3:00 – 4:00, W/F 9:00 – 11:00 and by appointment

Telephone: 587-7383 (office)


Texts: (Note: You need a lab manual and access to ChemPortal. The textbook is available as an e-book through ChemPortal or at the bookstore with ChemPortal access included. You may purchase ChemPortal online (

) if you choose not to get the textbook through the bookstore.)

- Johll, M. E. 2013. Investigating Chemistry: A Forensic Science Perspective. 3 rd edition. W. H.

Freeman and Company. Packaged with ChemPortal. ISBN: 978-1-4641-2425-9

- CHEM 103L Introduction to Forensic Chemistry Laboratory Manual. Available at the bookstore.


-Scientific calculator

-Safety goggles

Grading Scale: Grading System:

100.0% – 93.0% = A;

92.9% – 90.0% = A-;

89.9% - 87.0% = B+;

86.9% - 83.0% = B;

82.9% - 80.0% = B-;

79.9% - 77.0% = C+;

76.9% - 73.0% =C;

72.9% - 70.0% = C-;

69.9% - 67.0% = D+;

66.9% - 60.0% = D


Daily Quizzes


2 Project Assignments




@ 5% each 10%

3 Hour Exams @ 10% each 30%

Comprehensive Final 15%

Course Description:

This course serves as an introduction to the world of forensics focusing on the aspects of chemistry used during an investigation. In the accompanying lab, forensics techniques will be practiced and used to solve a crime.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the course, the student will be able to:

 demonstrate understanding of the scientific process of inquiry by analysis of forensics case studies

 describe the fundamental principles of chemistry, give examples of these principles, and solve problems using these principles.

 describe basic instrumentation used in forensics analysis and the principles behind their function.

 describe the importance of science and make scientifically informed decisions about everyday events (and events that hopefully do not occur everyday – crimes!).

 describe and demonstrate pertinent laboratory and scientific reasoning skills associated with forensics investigations.



Attendance, Daily Quizzes, and Groups: Attendance and coming to class prepared is expected. Your participation during the lectures is an essential part of your learning. The first week of class you will assigned to groups of four. At the end of most class periods you will be given a brief quiz over the lecture for that day. You can work with your group to answer the questions posed (you may use your notes/text for these quizzes). You will also be asked to work with your group on questions/activities during the lecture. You are encouraged to form a study group for homework and to study for exams. Daily quizzes count for 10% of the overall grade for the course.


Homework: Homework will be assigned each week in this course through Chemportal and will be graded online. Each week, homework will be due on Tuesday by 11:00 pm. You may access ChemPortal by going to You should have gotten an activation code with your class book. Make sure that you sign up for the

Introduction to Forensics course. Homework will consist of a mixture of multiple choice, true/false, short answer questions, and forensics simulations. One of the best ways to study for the course and to learn the material is to faithfully complete the homework.

Late homework will not be accepted. Homework counts for 15% of the overall grade.


Project Assignments: There will be two project assignments during the course. This first project is a written paper based on a case study of a crime scene. This will be done individually. The second project will be done in your group a week after your paper is due.

Your group will give a 10 minute presentation of the case study to the class. Projects count for 10% (5% each) of the overall grade for the course. A detailed description of these projects is given later in the syllabus.


Examinations: Three hour-long exams will be administered during the semester. DO NOT

MISS THESE! EXAMINATIONS! Exams may contain a mixture of multiple choice, fill in the blank, short answer, true/false, problem solving, and a short essay. A study guide for the material on the exam will be handed out prior to the exam and you will be allowed to bring a notecard with information to use on the exam. Essay questions will be graded, in part, on the use of correct English. Partial credit will be awarded on numerical problems for correct approach, but you must show your work. During the exams, you must remove

hats and put away any electronic devices other than calculators (cell phones, ipods, etc.).

Calculator covers must also be put away. Makeup examinations will be administered only to those students who have notified the instructor before the exam begins and have

a valid excuse. Instead of a makeup examination for an excused absence, you will be substituting the final examination’s grade for the missed exam. Examinations count for

30% of the overall grade for the course.


Final Examination: There will be a comprehensive final examination given as scheduled by the college: Wednesday, December 11 th at 10:00 – 11:50 a.m. The examination will cover all the material presented during the semester. It will consist of only multiple-choice questions. The final exam must be taken at the scheduled time. The final exam counts for

15% of the overall grade for the course.

There is no final examination for the laboratory section of the course.


Grading: Grades will be determined from scores on the exams, homework, quizzes, project assignments, and laboratory reports. The grading system is outlined on the first page of the syllabus. Faithful attendance of lecture and labs and faithful turning in of all assignments will be necessary to successfully complete the course. Note that you must achieve passing grades (60% or higher) for both the lecture and lab components

independently in order to earn a passing grade for the course.

The lowest quiz score for each portion of the course and the lowest homework score for each portion of the course will be dropped when calculating your quiz average and your homework average. Make-up quizzes or homework is not possible.


Cheating: Cheating of any kind (including plagiarism on the writing assignments) violates the Code of Conduct outlined in the ASU Student Handbook and will not be tolerated. If you are caught intentionally cheating, you will receive as a minimum penalty a score of 0 for that assignment/examination, and may be subject to additional penalties, including receiving an F for the course. The College may choose to impose additional disciplinary action for repeated instances of cheating. Working together on homework, quizzes, and laboratory reports is not considered to by cheating. Examinations must be your own work.


Drops, Withdrawals, and Incompletes: The “drop date” for the fall semester is

September 4 th . The last day to withdraw from this course is controlled by the campus,

October 11 th . After that date, a “W” may be given only for written medical reasons or extenuating circumstances, either of which requires presentation of appropriate documentation to the Office of Student Affairs. Poor performance in class does not

constitute an extenuating circumstance. A grade of incomplete is given only for documented medical reasons or extenuating circumstances (to be determined by the instructors), and the necessary work to finish the course must be completed as soon as possible. Poor performance in class is not an acceptable reason for a grade of



Special Consideration: If you require course adaptations or accommodations because of a documented disability, if you have emergency medical information to share with the instructors, or if you need particular arrangements in case the building must be evacuated, please make an appointment with the instructors as soon as possible. See the first page of the syllabus for contact information. If you have questions concerning documented disabilities, please contact Disabilities Services located in the Counseling Center in

Richardson Hall (Suite 220, 587-7746 or


Evacuation Plan: Should it be necessary to evacuate the classroom, the quickest way to exit is by the door on the west side of the building. Following an evacuation, we MUST meet. This is important as we must notify emergency personnel if someone is potentially in the building. Our meeting location will be outside the main door to Porter Hall. Beware that emergency vehicles will be using the parking lot and the drive around Porter hall; be alert to this movement. If you feel you might need assistance in quickly evacuating the building, please notify me.

11. Lecture Schedule:

Tentative Lecture Schedule



8/22 -8/27

8/29 – 9/5

9/10– 9/12

Topic/Text Reference/Event

Introduction to course

Chapter 1 - Intro. to Forensics

Chapter 2 – Evidence Collection and Preservation

Chapter 3 – Atomic Clues

9/17 – 9/26


10/1 -10/10

Chapter 4 – Chemical Evidence

Exam 1 (Chapters 1-4)

Chapter 5 – Bonding/Structure of Drug Molecules


10/15 – 10/17

No School – Fall Break

Chapter 8 – Drug Chemistry

10/22 – 10/31 Chapter 6 – Solutions I/Blood

10/29 Exam 2 (Chapters 4,5,8,6)

11/5 – 11/7

11/12 – 11/19

Chapter 7 – Solutions II

Chapter 14 – Intro to Biochemistry and DNA Analysis

11/19 – 11/26





Chapter 9 – Chemistry of Fire

No School - Thanksgiving

Chapter 10 – Chemistry of Explosions

Exam 3 (Chapters 7,14,9,10)

Final Exam (10:00 – 11:50 am)

Project Assignments

At the beginning of the semester, your group will sign up for one of the following case studies.

Date of



















12/3 (Tues!) 11/26


Date Paper is Due







Name of Case Study

“Planted Evidence” pg. 3 (Beeton)

“Grave Evidence”, pg. 27 (Beeton)

“What Killed Napoleon?” (Beeton)

“To Burn or Not to Burn” (Beeton)

“The Isotope Itinerary”, pg. 55 Group #

“Mind Games”, pg. 91 Group #

No School – Fall Break

“No Motive, No Opportunity”, pg. 135 Group #

“Administering Murder”, pg. 225 Group #

OJ Simpson Case, hand-out Group #

“An Aqueous Apocalypse”, pg. 165 Group #

“Something for the Pain”, pg. 195 Group #

“Remembering 9-11” pg. 399 Group #

“False and Unreliable”, pg. 261 Group #

“Tracing Explosives”, pg. 293 Group #

No case study – exam 3

The first project is a 3-4 page paper outlining what happened in the case and what forensics techniques were used to attempt to solve the case. These are to be done individually

– each person in your group should have a different paper! This paper is due one week before your presentation. Size 12 font and double spaced. Be specific and focused in your writing. Don’t ramble or use superficial statements.

The second project is a group, ten minute presentation of the case. This should be done on

Powerpoint and highlight points from your papers. Be sure to include at least a small tie-in to the chemistry that we are learning in class. Part of your grade for this project will be from an evaluation by your group members on each individual’s participation.

Rubric for Grading of Case Study Paper (to be used by instructor)

Examples of what would be included in a paper rated excellent or poor are shown on the next page. Good and fair would be in between these. 50 points possible. Five to ten points will be subtracted if the paper is shorter than 3 pages not counting references.

Description and summary of case/crime scene

15 pts possible


Using the information in the book, plus outside sources, give a detailed description of the case

15-14 pts


13-12 pts

Fair Poor

11-10 pts Give no more information about crime scene than what is found in the book.

<10 pts

Information about the chemical principles/instruments used to solve the crime.

15 pts possible

Outcome of


5 pts possible


5 pts possible

Details about the investigation, included chemistry principles utilized to examine the crime.

Include more detail about at least one of the methods used and how that method works.

15-14 pts

Brief discussion of the outcome of the case – was it solved? What questions remain?

5 pts

A minimum of three references cited in appropriate location in report; along with correct citation of article from textbook.

5 pts

13-12 pts

4 pts

4 pts

11-10 pts No chemistry is described (if one is in the article) or little information is given about a specific method used in the investigation.

<10 pts

3 pts

3 pts

No outcome described.

<3 pts

Reference list not included and references not cited in body of paper, not enough references

<3 pts

Readability Good organization; fewer than three 9 pts 8 pts Poor organization; many spelling

10 pts possible spelling or grammatical errors and grammatical errors

10 pts <8 pts

Rubric for Grading of Case Study Presentation (to be used by instructor)

Length of presentation

10 pts possible


7 min.

9 pts


6 min.

8 pts


Less than 5 minutes long

<7 pts

Clarity of Powerpoint slides

15 pts possible


15 pts possible

Average of Group


10 pts possible


8-12 minutes long

10 pts

Slides look nice, are understandable, and contribute to the talk

15-14 pts

Understandable, could tell it had been practiced

15-14 pts

Contributed equally to the preparation and presentation of the case study

10 pts

13-12 pts

13-12 pts

9 pts

11-10 pts Slides are sloppy and not put together very well.

<10 pts

11-10 pts Unorganized, unpracticed

<10 pts

8 pts Did not contribute as much as the rest of the group.

<7 pts


1. Attendance: Attendance is required for the laboratory. If you are not present to do the experiment, you will not get credit for the experiment. Dry-labbing will not be tolerated and will be treated as cheating. The lab lecture, lab, and the write-up are all completed during the lab time. You may be excused from one lab from each portion with documented reasons (school function, illness, family emergency) if you contact the laboratory instruction (not lecture

instructor) prior to the beginning of the lab. The absence must be documented and approved by the laboratory instructor within one week of the missed lab.

2. Groups and Reports: You will be completing the experiments in teams of two or three.

Each team will turn in one write-up for the experiment.

3. Safety and Standard Laboratory Procedures: Safety goggles and appropriate laboratory clothing are required for the chemistry experiments. You can purchase goggles from the chemistry club or the book store. Goggles must not have any direct vents – they cannot have any visible holes in them. Appropriate clothing includes long pants or other attire that covers legs to the ankle; short or long-sleeve tops that cover the shoulders, do not have deep-cut necklines, and do not leave exposed skin around the waist or the back (especially when bending over to conduct a routine lab technique); and shoes that cover the toes and heels (no sandals or clogs). In other words, wear old jeans, a long t-shirt, and tennis shoes! That way, you’ll be dressed to work safely (  ). Long hair should be tied back to prevent it from catching on fire or dipping in chemicals. No eating, drinking, tobacco use, or chewing gum is permitted in the lab.

Know the location of the fire extinguisher, safety shower, eyewash fountain, first aid kit, and nearest telephone. Violation of any safety policy/procedure during the course of a single laboratory period will result in the dismissal of the student from the lab and a score of 0

will be recorded for that experiment.

4. Cleanliness: Clean up all spills immediately, especially around balance areas and tabletops. Replace all bottle lids and caps as soon as you are through. Clean your working area and put away all equipment at the end of each laboratory period before leaving lab.

5. Preparation: Advance preparation (i.e., reading the experiment carefully) for the laboratory will be beneficial. There may be a short lab lecture given at the beginning of the lab period or at the end of the Thursday class period that will help you complete the lab, but you’ll work more efficiently if you have read the experiment in advance. Be on time for lab so you hear all the lecture – it is inconsiderate to your teammates and the instructor if you must ask repeated questions on material that was covered in the lab lecture. You’ll also be docked a few additional points if you are more than 3 minutes late.

Lab Schedule


















Experiment Title

No Lab

Firearms , Safety Lecture

No Lab – Labor Day

Footwear Impressions and Physical Matches

Soil Examination



Introduction of Chemical Instrumentation (group A)

Introduction of Chemical Instrumentation (group B)

Blood Alcohol Concentration

Identification of Blood

Urine and Blood Analysis


Crime Scene Wrap-up

Arson and Accelerants