Teacher’s questions for Cool jobs: Crime scene investigators


Before reading:

1. What is evidence? How can evidence prove a crime suspect’s guilt — or innocence?

During reading:

  1. Define “forensics.”
  2. Name two ways television shows can give a false view of the work of forensic investigators.
  3. How do forensic investigators provide context to the evidence they collect?
  4. Explain how the weather can affect the work of forensic investigators.
  5. What is a person’s “genetic fingerprint?”
  6. Why would investigators look for a suspect’s DNA under a victim’s fingernails?
  7. What is PCR?
  8. What two DNA myths does Kendall Stoner dismiss?
  9. Name two things you can learn about victims from their bones.
  10. Why would bodies decompose more slowly in cold weather?
  11. What does William Bass call “nature’s little helpers?” Why?

After reading:

  1. If you could follow in the footsteps of one of these three experts, whom would you choose? Why?
  2. Is there such a thing as a crime with no evidence? Explain your answer.


  1. Some people say large DNA databases are useful in investigating crimes. Would you want your genetic fingerprint included in such a database? Why or why not?