Reflection: Trust and Respect Bad Hair Day: Hair Analysis - Section 5: Elaborate


I have had a lot of people ask me why I choose not to use the student's hair in the lab. After all, it would take a lot less preparation time to use hair readily found in class rather than to collect, label and provide other samples.

Besides the obvious reason (possible lice), there is another underlying reason I choose not to use student hair, and I learned it accidently. I actually used some students' hair as samples in the lab a few years ago. Kids really enjoyed cutting or pulling a few of their own strands of hair to use as samples. However, one year, I had a particularly challenging class (as we all encounter from time-to-time). A few students in this class decided that it would be appropriate to embarrass students after looking at their hair under a microscope. They told others that they could see bugs, dirt, and so on in their classmate's hair (even though this was not true). They began ridiculing everyone who was brave enough to use their own hair, making fun of the shape, color, etc. and adding some very rude and unacceptable comments. After this experience I decided that using live models was opening up our class to a possible uncomfortable situation if students decided to act appropriately. While it may be easier, it was not in the best interest of the students, and therefore, I decided to collect my own samples prior to the lab.

  Hair Samples
  Trust and Respect: Hair Samples
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Bad Hair Day: Hair Analysis

Unit 5: Forensics
Lesson 7 of 15

Objective: SWBAT a mystery by identifying and analyzing hair at the scene of a crime.

Big Idea: How do scientists use something as small as a few strands of hair to solve a crime? We practice analyzing hair to learn about where it came from and how it could break a case wide open!

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