Request Info

CSI: Pali

1 Class Session, 1.5 Hours

Students explore the field of forensics and its importance in criminal justice by forming an investigative unit and working together to solve a mystery. They compare fingerprint patterns, study handwriting samples, and analyze video footage. After viewing all of the evidence in their bag, the junior detectives employ deductive reasoning to rule out suspects and reach a verdict.

What’s Covered

A heinous crime has occurred at Pali, and it’s up to the class to solve it! Who stole the snakes from our nature center? Students begin by brainstorming different investigative techniques and types of evidence. They practice leaving and examining fingerprints a variety of ways, analyze each other’s handwriting, discuss blood types & DNA and conduct a chemical test to check for the presence of blood. Older or more advanced classes may dive deeper into a discussion on genetics and dominant/recessive traits.

Lessons & Activities


Students learn about fingerprint patterns (arches, loops and whirls) and ways to leave fingerprints (patent, plastic and latent) by using stamps, clay, tape and balloons to examine their own fingerprints and each other’s.

Handwriting Analysis

Students analyze their own handwriting and each other’s for characteristic traits such as size, slant, baseline, pressure and simplicity.

DNA & the Kastle-Meyer Test

Students discuss DNA, blood types and genetics before channeling their inner chemist and conducting the Kastle-Meyer Test on potentially “bloody” rags.


Now that students have sharpened their investigative skills, it’s time to solve the crime. In small investigative units, students review surveillance camera footage, suspect alibis and physical evidence to piece together the truth.

Educational Standards

  • 5-6.h: Draw conclusions from scientific evidence and indicate whether further information is needed to support a specific conclusion.
  • 6-7.e: Recognize whether evidence is consistent with a proposed explanation.
  • 7-1.c: The nucleus is the repository for genetic information in plant and animal cells.
  • 7-2.c: An inherited trait can be determined by one or more genes.
  • 7-2.d: Plant and animal cells contain many thousands of different genes and typically have two copies of every gene. The two copies (for alleles) of the gene may or may not be identical and one may be dominant in determining the phenotype while the other is recessive.
  • 7-2.e: DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) is the genetic material of living organisms and is located in the chromosomes of each cell.

Ready to Get Started?

Accelerate your students’ learning with our exciting curriculum. Learn more about this hands-on, experiential education activity today.

Excited group of Pali students look at orange clue card
Raving Reviews

What People Are Saying

I loved my experience at Pali. In my time as an instructor, I was able to develop many skills in the classroom as a teacher and as a leader. I would highly recommend this position for anyone who would like to start a career in the Outdoor Education Industry.

Alicia G., Instructor

Thank you so much for an incredible week. The kids are jazzed; parents are more jazzed. Your team is incredible, and the planning and execution for a top notch science/outdoor education/leadership camp is celebrated. We are so glad we found you.

Danielle V., Teacher

Impressive! This is our first time to Pali. I have taken students to four other SoCal science camps and I would highly recommend Pali and plan to return next year.

Janice K., Educator

Source: Yelp