Education Technology

Murder in the First Degree - The Death of Mr. Spud

Published on 06/09/2008

Activity Overview

Students model the process of cooling and use a cooling curve to simulate a forensic scenario to predict the time of death. They use technology to find an exponential plot.

Before the Activity

  • Set up the calculator for data collection
  • See the attached PDF file for detailed instructions for this activity
  • Print pages 167 - 175 from the attached PDF file for your class
  • During the Activity

    Distribute the pages to the class.

    Follow the Activity procedures:

  • Insert a thermometer inside a hot potato and place the potato in cold water
  • Record the temperature
  • Enter the time and the temperature as lists
  • Set up a scatter plot and model the data by graphing a line of best fit using exponential regression
  • Record the temperature of another hot potato that has been cooled
  • Use the graph to determine the time when the potato was removed from the hot water
  • Understand how forensic study of body temperature of a corpse facilitates calculation of the time of death
  • After the Activity

    Students will complete the Data Collection and Analysis page and answer questions.

    Review student results:

  • As a class, discuss questions that appeared to be more challenging
  • Re-teach concepts as necessary