A laboratory stations activity provides a rigorous, hands-on introduction to concepts and techniques in forensic anthropology in an introductory forensic science course


  • Bianca Brandon Staten Island Technical High School485 Clawson StreetStaten Island, NY 10314


forensic anthropology, biological profile, stations activity, inquiry


This article presents the use of a laboratory stations activity in an introductory forensic science course in order to introduce students to concepts in forensic anthropology and techniques for estimating the
biological profile of skeletal remains. After completing preliminary activities, students examined osteological replicas in order to estimate age at death, stature, and sex; and analyzed evidence of skeletal trauma. Students were provided with reference materials to aid in their analysis. The advantages of using this format included high student engagement and inquiry, real-world problem-solving, realistic case scenarios, and challenging content. Some of the challenges encountered included difficulty comparing the osteological replicas to sketches and photos in order to assign scores and identify bony landmarks. These issues could be resolved by incorporating more preliminary instruction and providing additional reference materials.

Author Biography

Bianca Brandon, Staten Island Technical High School485 Clawson StreetStaten Island, NY 10314

I worked as an intern then as a criminalist II at the department of Forensic biology at the NYC Office of Chief Medical Examiner from 1999 until 2003.  I then became a NYC high school teacher.  I have been teaching at Staten Island Technical High School since 2005, and began teaching forensic science in 2007. In my class, I use experiential learning, including lab activities, analysis of case studies, and projects so that students are able to learn the subject in much greater depth. I am especially passionate about analyzing true cases in which the forensic evidence is not as clear cut, so that students have to analyze the probative value of the evidence and the extent to which evidence can be individualized. Forensic science can bolster or diminish social justice, which my students are especially interested in.






Activity or Laboratory Experiment: High School Educators