Course Syllabus

Honors Forensic Science



Kara Thompson

Contact Information:

Forensic science is designed to give a challenging study of the science and psychology of forensic science topics. 

Prerequisites include: Biology 1 Honors/CDM, Earth Science Honors and a Physical Science Course

Extra help will be available this semester on Friday online days.  The schedule will be updated as school begins, I will post the times in our announcements.  

Course Expectations:

  • Develop the understanding and knowledge of the nature of science, its unifying concepts and connections to other disciplines
  • Develop natural curiosity and inquiry skills
  • Develop critical thinking and communication skills
  • Develop the ability to reflect on personal learning experiences and assess development as a learner
  • Demonstrate advanced proficiency and concept mastery of forensic science topics
  • Develop global content knowledge and skills necessary for successful completion of college and university work

These will be achieved through:

  • Displaying a constructive and optimistic learning attitude
  • Continuous collaboration with students and teacher
  • Daily participation in classroom discussions and activities
  • Designing and completing laboratory investigations and dissections and research projects that address forensic literacy questions and concepts
  • Reading analyzing and reporting on key scientific discoveries and recent research in science

My expectations:

  • Work to accomplish the expectations listed above
  • Have a positive attitude
  • Participate in discussions
  • Come prepared for class, labs, tests, and activities
  • Use and develop critical thinking and analytical skills
  • Have high expectations of me! If I am doing something that does not help you learn, talk to me about it!
  • Make learning your responsibility – I cannot force you to learn but I can help you with the content of this course.

I will do my best to provide a positive environment so that you can be successful and learn.  I am excited to begin this learning experience with you!

Course Outline:

            ** Subject to change as needed to accommodate every learner

Unit 1: Introduction to Forensic Science and Crime Scene Processing

You will investigate:

Eyewitness accuracy; The scope, definition, and history of forensic science; Careers in forensic science; Preservation and processing of the crime scene

Unit 2: Questioned Documents

            You will investigate:

Handwriting analysis; Forged documents (Blind, Simulated, Traced); Ink analysis through paper chromatography and thin layer chromatography

Unit 3: Microscopic Physical Evidence and Impression Evidence

            You will investigate:

Microscope techniques and use; Hair and fiber evidence; Fingerprinting and other impression evidence (lips, tools, tire tracks)

Unit 4: Cause of Death, Suspect Identification, and Modern Lab Techniques

You will investigate:

Organic analysis (chromatography and spectrophotometry); Toxicology and autopsy;

Serology (Blood typing, blood spatter pattern analysis); DNA fingerprinting

Unit 5: If Teeth, Bones and Bugs Could Talk

You will investigate:

Forensic odontology; Forensic anthropology; Forensic entomology

Unit 6: Firearms and Explosives

You will investigate:

Ballistics; Arson and explosion


Course Warning: 

Please understand that there are subjects, and discussions that can be upsetting in this class.   We are discussing and studying crime, investigation, and occasionally punishment.  We will be addressing these with both sensitivity and science.

Course Grading:

            Each graded assignment will have a specific point value (for example, a 100 question test might be worth 100 points or a 30 question quiz might be worth 50 points).  To calculate your grade on the assignment you would do the following:

            Total points earned / total points possible = Your Grade

** No credit will be given for plagiarism (school policy will be followed), shared work, or assisting others in completing individual assignments.

Assignments are weighted as follows:  Tests- 30%, Quizzes- 15%, Classwork- 20%, Projects - 15% and lab work 20%

To help prevent plagiarism work will be completed in a variety of ways and submitted in a variety of ways as well. 

Absence Policy:

            When a student has a lawful absence, per MRHS policy, two days will be allowed for each day absent, to allow students to have ample time to make up missed work.  The student is responsible for obtaining those missed assignments.  If you do not make arrangements to make up work, no credit will be given for those assignments.

Exam policy:  This class has a teacher made exam.  Union county has enacted the following policy, as it relates to exam exemptions, absences and final grades.

            Students will not be required to take the final exam in a class with a teacher made final exam if the following conditions are met:

  • The student has an average of 90 or above the week prior to the administration of the exam and has no more than 2 unexcused absences in the class.  


  • The student has an average of 80 or above the week prior to the administration of the exam and has no more than 1 unexcused absence in the class.

Late work:

            Late work will be accepted with a 20% deduction for the first day and 10% deduction for each day thereafter.  It is important to me that you are learning the material, but it is equally important that you demonstrate responsibility and complete and return the assignments.

             Please make sure that if there is a reason that you cannot complete work on time you let me know.  It is very important that you communicate with me.  We can work things out as we go through this interesting year, as long as you stay in contact.


Classroom Rules:

  • Be in class on time, with materials needed and ready to learn when the bell rings, or online on time for meetings on your virtual days as much as is possible
  • When you enter the classroom, you will need to keep your mask on, and will need to wash your hands.  There are 5 sinks in our classroom, so we will be using them instead of hand sanitizers.  If you wish to have sanitizer of your own, please use unscented, as I have asthma and the scents tend to cause asthmatic attacks.
  • Raise a hand when you want to make a comment or ask a question
  • Do not interrupt others while they are learning
  • Follow all verbal, written, and laboratory instructions
  • Follow school rules, regulations, and policies of MRHS and UCPS
  • Not following these rules will result in a warning, and if behavior continues, parents will be notified and consequences as set by the school or UCPS will occur

Laboratory Rules:

  • No food or drink in the laboratory area.
  • Closed toe shoes must be worn during certain lab activities. This will be communicated in advance.  Failure to follow this instruction will result in your removal from the lab, and will have consequences on your grade.
  • Long hair, ties, loose clothing must be tied back or secured while working in the lab. Any loose jewelry must be removed.
  • Alwaysread labels and directions before using any items in the lab. If labels or directions are unclear or confusing, ask!
  • Always wear safety goggles, gloves and lab aprons when necessary in the lab. 10 points will be deducted from your grade each time you are not wearing your safety equipment.
  • Alwaysclean your work area and wash your hands when the lab is complete. 20 points will be deducted from the lab grade for failure to do this.  This is a safety factor for both you and other students. 
  • There is NO roughhousing permitted during labs. Roughhousing of any sort during lab will result in the student being removed from the lab, and the grade will be converted to a zero.  Please see lab safety sheets for any questions.

Required Materials: We are not allowed to share materials this year, so students will be responsible for these items.


Laptop and charger                                       Black or blue pen (no bright colors)

3-ring binder (1 ½ - 2 inch)                        Colored Pencils

Dividers, as needed                                       Pencils

Paper                                                                      Graph Paper

*Headphones that work with your computer are recommended

Depending on guidelines, students may need to purchase a pair of lab goggles for labs and dissections.  If this is the case, I will give students both time and goggle suggestions prior to our needing them.  They will be student property, and they will be able to use these in future classes or in college.

Wish List:

Tissues, tissues, tissues!          Baby/Clorox/Lysol Wipes                 Pipe cleaners

Popsicle sticks                               Elmer’s type glue sticks                      Unscented hand soap

 Dawn dish soap (clear or blue)          Ball point pens in bright colors          



Marvin Ridge High School

Honors Forensic Science

Course Requirements and Classroom Management

Student, Parent/Guardian, and Teacher Agreement


As your son/daughter’s teacher, I will treat all students equally and with respect.  I strongly believe that effective parent/guardian/teacher communication will promote the academic success of students at Marvin Ridge High School.  In order to facilitate communication, please fill in your current email address (if applicable) and phone number(s) at the bottom of this sheet.  In addition, please let me know your preferred method of contact.  If you have any questions please do not hesitate to call me at school at (704-290-1520) or email me at  I am looking forward to this semester with your son/daughter.



Kara Thompson  


As a student in Mrs. Thompson’s class, I agree to:

  • Follow procedures and expectations as outlined in the attached syllabus
  • Abide by the policies outlined in the school handbook
  • Attend class regularly and be on time
  • Be polite and respectful to my peers, teacher, and my school
  • Stay on task on class and complete assignments

Student name: ___________________________________________________

Student Signature:_______________________________(date)_________________

As a parent/guardian of a student in Mrs. Thompson’s class I:

  • Have read the course requirements/expectations information for my child and I understand and agree with the expectations. (If not, please contact me with issues and concerns)
  • Will let Mrs. Thompson know of any medical, physical, mental, or dietary needs that I should be made aware of (confidentially) that may impact my child’s learning
  • Will contact Mrs. Thompson with any questions of concerns

Parent/ Guardian Name:___________________________________________

Parent/ Guardian Signature ­­­­­­­­­:_________________________________(date)_____________

Mother     Father     Guardian  (circle one)

Parent/ Guardian Email:_______________________________________________

Cell Phone __________________________________________________________

Home Phone________________________________________________________

Work Phone_________________________________________________________

Please circle your preferred method of contact:

Email               Cell Phone                   Home Phone               Work Phone

Preferred contact time: _______________________________________________

Do you have internet access at home?   YES    NO        Printer access?   YES   NO    

Are there any Special conditions that I need to consider when teaching your child? ___________________________________________________________________

Thank you in advance for your cooperation!  I am very excited to have your child in my class!


Course Summary:

Date Details Due