Find a Murderer With TI-Nspire™ CX Technology

Posted 11/22/2019 by Edith Vos (@edithvos)

“Famous music producer Jonathan Wallace was found killed in his bathtub. The only clue at the crime scene was a set of muddy footprints leading from the nearby window to the bathroom.” This is a description of one of the tasks of “Forensics With TI-Nspire™ CX Technology” based on forensic science experiments. Dutch physics teacher Cathy Baars uses these in class: “Everybody watches or is familiar with TV series like ‘Bones’ or ‘CSI.’ Solving crimes motivates students to apply and learn about mathematics in a fun way. These science experiments can be executed with Texas Instruments (TI) graphing calculators. They connect maths and physics and are an addition to the curriculum,” she said.

Murder Case to Introduce Methods

For this specific “murder case,” students have to work on several science objectives. They, for instance, determine if there is a relationship between the length of a person’s stride and his or her height. Also, they are asked to efficiently gather data to test for correlations between height, shoe size and stride length. Furthermore, they use a linear regression model of the data to predict height based on stride length. “These experiments cannot replace the curriculum, but they can be used to introduce methods to the class in a fun and concrete way,” Baars said.

Theory on Friction in a Hit and Run

According to the physics teacher, students appreciate the use of authentic data: “Case File 12, for instance, involves a hit and run. A lady is struck by a black SUV. Students will study the skid marks and theory on friction. They do their own experiment using a toy car, their TI handheld, Vernier EasyData® application and a motion sensor (CBR™ 2).” These experiments also show students that studying STEM can lead to exciting careers. Baars added, “It shows them why it’s beneficiary to study physics and maths.”

Download all teaching materials regarding “Forensics With TI-Nspire™ Technology” here (search for Sharing Inspiration 2019)

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