Inquiry-Based Practical Exercise – Diatoms in Forensic Practice

Eva Hejduková, Jan Mourek


volume: 29
year: 2020
issue: 3
fulltext: PDF
elektronická příloha

online publishing date: 1/10/2020
DOI: 10.14712/25337556.2020.3.1
ISSN (Online): 2533-7556

Licence Creative Commons
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Forensic sciences have been greatly popularized in recent decades through various television serials with criminal themes, and this has helped make them attractive for pupils. Practical exercises and workshops focusing on forensic issues contribute to the awareness of the real possibilities and limits of the methods used. Recent studies indicate that inquiry-based teaching contributes to improving pupils' attitudes to science subjects. In addition, surveys among pupils themselves suggest that they prefer science-based teaching with a high level of activity and responsibility for themselves. Therefore, we propose an inquiry-based practical exercise simulating the process of forensic analysis of diatom samples. Diatoms are unicellular algae characterized by ornamented silica shells. Thanks to the high persistence of shells, relatively easy determination and wide spread occurrence are the diatoms used for natural condition assessment. Diatom analyses are applied not only in science, for example, in climate change investigation, but in practice as well: in biomonitoring or in forensic investigations in drowning cases. Comparison of diatoms recorded in samples of body tissues (lungs, bone marrow) with communities from the locality where the drowned was found, has helped to clarify many cases.


practical exercise, diatoms, forensic science, inquiry-based teaching, natural condition assessment

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