Master Books Intro to Forensic Science High School Curriculum Review

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Last Updated on May 10, 2024 by Sarah McCubbin

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If you have a homeschooled teen that is fascinated with crime scene investigation, Master Books Intro to Forensic Science may be the perfect option to explore a science course with real world applications.

If you have a teen that needs something different than the traditional options or if you have a child that needs something more because they have already completed the traditional options, Intro to Forensic Science will be a great fit.

As a mom of nine kids, one of my own personal goals is that my homeschooled teens be challenged and able to navigate academic subjects well. I want them to be confident facing a full year academic course and not feel overwhelmed by a thick textbook! I also want my high school students to take course work that helps them figure out what they would like to study in college. 

One of the things I truly appreciate about this Intro to Forensic Science course is the way it brings a very practical application of an actual career down to the level of high schools students. As someone who changed my major several times in college and still ended up with a useless degree, I am a huge fan of high school curriculum them helps students actively narrow their career choices.

** This is a sponsored post. I received this product or compensation for review purposes only and was compensated for my time. I was not asked nor required to share a positive review; all opinions are my own. READ DISCLAIMER HERE for more information.

Forensic Science As a High School Subject

One of the challenges of helping middle school and high school students homeschool effectively is that a lot of curriculum is dry, rote information taught apart from the career fields where that information is relavent. For high school, traditional homeschool science curriculum is often limited to physical science, biology, chemistry and physics. 

In addition, there have been very limited choices for lab sciences. Most of these sciences are heavily dependent on solid math skills which can make it challenging for an upper level student who struggles with math.

Master Books Intro to Forensic Science offers a high quality science experience without the intense math skills required in many other courses. The course contains many simplified labs which give students practice extrapolating data without the need to gather actual samples in most cases.

Studying forensic science means that in many cases labs should be things like gathering fluids, examining blood splatter and dusting for finger prints. Where practical, students do actually DO labs. But where it is not practical, that data has been given for them to examine.

I am so excited that Master Books has created an entire year of forensics that combines that lab requirements with a focus on actual skills, science and information students need to decide whether or not they might want to study this topic further. This course is definitely one that will help students who are considering a forensics science degree. 

Included in this curriculum are: 

  • Real life case studies
  • 34 Weeks of Lessons
  • Training using practical tools within the case studies
  • Weekly labs
  • A master supply list
  • A daily schedule to complete the work
  • Student worksheets
  • Student labs
  • Tests and Answers Keys
  • Training in the field of forensic science
  • and much more!

Forensic science curriculum for high school is the perfect option for students who have completed a few core lab sciences but are looking for something with more real life application. The curriculum is labeled as 11th and 12th grade level.

Want a SIMPLE way to do all the labs without gathering supplies? Grab the Lab Kit Here!

Looking for an Online Class option? Check out Master Books Academy! Intro to Forensic Science will be offer there in the fall of 2024!

Masterbooks has Science curriculum for Elementary, Middle School and High School!

Can This Forensics Curriculum Be Used For Middle School or Early High School? 

As a mom of 9, I would say that maybe you could use this forensics course for grades younger than 11th & 12th. I would only do so with caution and on a case by case basis. 

The case studies in the textbooks are based on real crimes. The disturbing subject matter is not something most of us want our young teens reading. However, the content is not visually graphic in any way. There are no crime scene photos from the actual case studies. 

The material in this textbook is not too difficult for a middle school or early high school student to do the labs. So it is definitely something that could be modified to be accessible to a younger crowd. The concepts of crime scene investigation are taught in an engaging way and could easily be pulled out and taught apart from each of the case studies if you are looking for more of an elective type study.

The textbook is set up to have a case study in each chapter followed by a CSI technique. A teacher could choose to cover some elements of the textbook but not all for younger students. 

What Topics Are Covered in the Course? 

The Intro to Forensic Science course does a great job providing a broad overview as well specific observation skills. 

It teaches what forensic science is, the history of forensics and the two types of science and the scientific method. 

Topics related to different types of evidence collection include: 

  • Examination of physical evidence as well as drugs, tool marks, weapons, documents and computer forensices
  • Biological evidence: forensic entomology, forensic anthropology, death scenes, DNA, serology, toxicology
  • Transitory evidence: huma & animal fingerprints as well as fingerprint processing, collecting trace evidence, impressions, arson and residue
  • Forensic tools
  • Forensic Specialties
  • The Judiciary System 

What Other Mom’s Said After Looking Through It

​As part of using this curriculum, I was able to share it with other moms planning for their next school year. It received rave reviews. Several moms said they wished they could take the Intro to Forensic Science class!

What Mom’s Liked:

  • The content is in full color. 
  • The case studies are based on real crimes but are each only a few pages long. 
  • ​A variety of scientific fields are represented in collecting and analyzing evidence.
  • The lesson plan is easy to follow.
  • ​Everything is taught from a biblical world view. 

Master books also offers Apologetics curriculum great for supporting families in a Biblical worldview!

Could This Be Used in a Homeschool Co-op?

For the past 16 years, my family has participated in homeschool co-ops and I have been in leadership for at least 12 years. For most of that time, our co-op has focused on core academics of history, language arts and science in the morning and electives in the afternoon.

Because of that, when I’m looking at homeschool science curriculum, I’m not just looking at it for my family, I’m looking at it with an eye toward how it would work for a middle school teacher or high school classroom teacher in a homeschool co-op science class. 

Unlike a traditional school, co-ops meet once or twice a week instead of five days like a regular school. 

As I looked at the Intro to Forensic Science curriculum for our co-op, I feel like it meets the biggest criteria we have:

  1. Practical labs are included in the curriculum
  2. The curriculum is designed for 34 weeks (we are usually looking for something around 30 weeks)
  3. There is a student workbook portion
  4. There is a recommended daily work schedule making it easier for students and teachers to plan

Many of the labs in the curriculum would be excellent in a co-op setting. Teachers gather the materials one time (or purchase the lab kit) and a whole class of students benefits. The materials are relatively easy to follow and if a student misses a week, they should be able to keep track of everything at home.

I also like this curriculum for a co-op because it is not heavily math based. In co-ops, there are often students with a variety of ages and abilities in the same class and math is often a limiting factor in whether some students can fully participate.

If students take this in a co-op setting and any part of the student pages or worksheets are used, each student would need to buy a copy of the Teacher Guide. (Here is the Master Book’s co-op policy) All of the labs and worksheets are in the teacher guide making up about 2/3 of the Teacher Guide.

Pros & Cons of Master Books Science

I have had the opportunity to use several Master Books sciences from elementary through high school. I have also used MANY other science curriculums over the last 16 years. One year our homeschool co-op ordered a bunch of curriculum, just to look at to figure out what the best options out there were. We wanted to have a variety in front of us at one time.

Based on my own experience, here are my pros and cons of Master Books science in general. These also apply to the Master Books Intro to Forensic Science course.

Pros of Master Books Science

1. The textbooks have beautiful full color illustrations

2. Textbooks are designed to cover several grades at a time…usually a textbook can be used for elementary, middle school or high school. 

3. Master Books covers a wide variety of sciences in a way that most students can learn without it being intensely academic. 

4. The sciences courses usually do not require a lot of lab equipment. Lab kits are available for many of their courses.

Cons of Master Books Science

1. The teacher manual is combined with student activity pages. Student activity page may or may not be in full color but somehow they are always combined with a teacher book. A separate student book is not available. That means families will either buy the ebook and print the student pages or somehow rework the teacher book so students don’t get copies of the tests and answer keys in the teacher book. 

2. Lab quality is not consistent across Master Books textbooks. The Intro to Forensic Science course has quite a few engaging labs in the textbook. However, I have used some of their other science textbooks and many of them do not have a lot of labs or experiments. If having experiments and labs is important, a parent should carefully analyze each of their science textbooks to make sure it is offering what you are looking for. 

Master Books Approach 

Organized Ecclectic

As a mom who has homeschooled for a long time, I appreciate that Master Books takes a workbook-based, organized approach that is perfect for the ecclectic homeschooler. What does that mean? As Ecclectic Homeschoolers, we like to pick and choose…a little of this and a little of that. Often we are piecing together our own curriculum to get that balance of hands on, literature, and academic compentencies. Let’s face it, piecing it together often means some of us are disorganized. But Master Books, has created textbooks that accomplish the best parts of being ecclectic with the organizational needs of busy moms. The full color textbooks are engaging for students of all ages and the grade level textbooks mean that parents can easily move their students up or down to work on subjects that are interesting and challenging…meeting them at their ability.

Parent Friendly

As I have used Master Books (and many other curriculums), I have appreciated the way Master Books has designed curriculum that is parent friendly. There is no assumption that you will be sitting down at the table with 4 kids and need 4 teacher manuals to teach 4 subjects. Everything is designed to be open and go. You could have 4 children working on different subjects and it would still be relatively easy to help them.

Parent instructions are included right in the student lessons. Most lessons are self-contained, stand alone and don’t use a lot of extra supplementation.

Check Out ALL of the Masterbook Course Offerings!

When I first began homeschooling, Master Books didn’t exist in the mainstream offerings. I’m so glad that they do now! I love that they offer so many choices that make teaching easier for parents and more independent for younger students. I also appreciate how affordable many of their curriculum options are. Master Books curriculum clearly demonstrates that they have a lived understanding of the challenges homeschool parents face while trying to educate multiple children…on a budget!

Sarah McCubbin, founder of Ten Minute Momentum, is dedicated to helping parents confidently parent their kids by teaching life skills, social skills and leadership skills. As a child she was the kid that never quite fit in and is on a mission to help others understand the building blocks we all need to be successful adults. She lives in Ohio with her husband Mike, and 9 kids ranging in age from 5 to 21 where they use homeschool, private school and public schools for their kids education!

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