Course Syllabus

Honors Forensics

Parkwood High School        Spring 2020

Mr. Morton                           Room 824



Course Description

This course centers around the evidence found at crime scenes and the role of forensic scientists in using this information to solve crimes. Major topics include the history and organization of crime labs, physical evidence, organic and inorganic analysis, toxicology, arson and explosive investigation.  Prerequisites: biology, earth/environmental science, and a physical science. (UCPS Program of Studies, 2018-19)


Course Materials


The following items are required for Honors Forensics:

  • Composition book (for daily notes, labs, etc.) NO three-ring binders.
  • Pens / Pencils, Color pencils, and tape
  • A positive, problem-solving attitude that looks forward to engaging in a challenge.


Instructional Philosophy

The goal of the course is to provide students with a general background in chemistry that will lay the basic foundation for future AP classes or college courses.  Instruction will be delivered mainly through lecture, in-class practice problems, and laboratory experiences.  Students are expected to demonstrate good note taking skills, work well with their peers on all assignments and to apply their knowledge in the laboratory while using good safety practices. Safety in the laboratory is very important and goofing off in lab will result in detention (or a discipline referral when necessary) as well as a zero on the lab assignment.  All students and parents/guardians must sign the lab safety contract at the beginning of the semester.


Course Standards

In general, the areas we will cover this semester include:

  • Intro to Forensic Science and Crime Scene Processing
  • Questioned Documents
  • Microscopic Physical Evidence and Impression Evidence
  • Cause of Death, Suspect Identification, and Modern Lab Techniques
  • Teeth, Bones, and Bugs
  • Firearms and Explosives
  • Forensic Psychology


Assessment and Grading

Letter grades will be assigned according to the UCPS grading scale. (A=100-90, B=89-80, C=79-70, D=69-60, F= 59 or below). 


                Tests                                      50 points               each unit

                Quizzes                                 20 points                2-3 per week (1 unannounced)

                Portfolios                               50 points               2 portfolio checks per grading period

                Engagement                         20 points               Grade for engagement in class

                Projects                                 20 points               1 per grading period

The purpose of class work, homework, and labs is to reinforce the concepts of chemistry, not to serve as a means of grading. Assignments will be collected and graded randomly and quizzes will be given 2-3 times per week to assess each student’s level of proficiency.  

All tests and quizzes are timed and must be returned when time is called (unless a student has documented modifications for extended time).


Late work is docked 10% per day. The ONLY exception is when a student misses class for an excused absence or an approved school related activity (such as a field trip, sports-related trip, ASVAB, writing test, etc.) in which case the student must turn in the assignment within two days of their return.  A word to the wise: this is a rigorous course that moves at a very brisk pace.  It would behoove you to ask a peer or get the assignment from the teacher before returning to class.


When you return from an absence you should:

  1. Check for assignments or worksheets you may have missed.
  2. Copy notes from another student in the class.
  3. Turn in any homework that was due on the day you were absent.
  4. Set up a day and time to come in before or after school to make up any quizzes, labs, or tests.
  5. Turn in all make up work when it is complete.




Classroom Expectations: (In addition to the UCPS and Parkwood High School student handbooks)

  • Be in your seat and prepared for class to begin when the tardy bell rings.
  • Do not talk while the teacher is giving instructions or lecturing.
  • Always follow directions.
  • Show respect for yourself, other students, the teacher and YOUR school.
  • Bring all necessary materials to class each day.


Consequences for MINOR class disruptions:

  1. Warning- Verbal or non-verbal (the dirty look!)
  2. 15-minute detention- before/after school or during lunch block
  3. Parent/guardian contact
  4. Office referral



Hat Policy

  • Hats with bills must face backward.


Electronics and Digitals Policy

  • If you see me on my phone, you can check yours. Chrome Books may be used only when we are using them in class for a specific purpose.
  • Each class we take several breaks so each student will have an opportunity to check their digital device.




Academic Integrity


I do not tolerate cheating- EVER.  I am only interested in what YOU know. When you turn in an assignment with your name on it, you are attesting that it is YOUR work. You are cheating if you are the one doing the copying or if you are allowing someone else to copy from you.  If I see you copying a homework or class work assignment I will take both papers and give zeroes to the person who was copying AND the person whose paper was being copied.

Course Summary:

Date Details Due