Pre-lab: Handwriting analysis The teacher will give each student two sheets of paper in different colors (with no lines on it) and identical writing utensils. Put everything else away. 2. On the first sheet of paper, write the following in your normal handwriting (that you use everyday) Be sure it is on the correct color of paper:
(write on your paper in one paragraph)Teacher will time you. Write for 1 minute. Stop where you run out of time. “The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog. I am a student at Central Middle School. I am in Mrs. Henley’s class learning about different techniques scientists use to solve crimes. Today, I will learn about handwriting analysis and forgery. The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog.” (repeat 2 more times if you get done) When teacher says stop, she will collect samples.
Write a #1 in the top right corner of that paper. Get the second sheet of paper out and write a #2 in the top right corner of that paper. On the second sheet of paper you will copy exactly what you wrote, but will try and alter your handwriting. Scenario is on the next slide.
The principal walks in the room… The principal comes in and asks for a writing sample from you. They have found several pieces of evidence of vandalism. A group of kids have written on the bathroom stalls! The principal wants to find the guilty parties. Can he do this by comparing each student’s handwriting against the evidence?
If you were innocent… no problem. You’d just jot down whatever he wanted you to and give it to him/her; however, in this example you are GUILTY! You totally DID write on the bathroom stall and now you are worried about getting caught. The only way out is to try and fool the principal by trying to change the way you write. He shows you a picture of what was written (the first paper) and asks you to rewrite it in front of him. Scribbling is not allowed. Writing excessively large or small is not allowed. It needs to look like normal handwriting, otherwise your principal will know that you have something to hide and are guilty! Also, no stalling! Try and change your handwriting style and make it look like someone else’s true handwriting. The principal says you have 1 minute to write the following…
The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog. I am a student at Central Middle School. I am in Mrs. Henley’s class learning about different techniques scientists use to solve crimes. Today, I will learn about handwriting analysis and forgery. The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog. (repeat 2 more times if you get done) After the teacher says “Stop”, write a number 2 in the top right corner of your paper and print your first and last name at the bottom of the page.
Switch roles. You are now the principal. And there are guilty parties in the room. It is your job to learn about handwriting analysis and forgery so that you can catch those kids that wrote on the bathroom stalls. Pay close attention! You will need to use this data to finish the lab! Principals also have access to 21st century science folders to find evidence of a student’s handwriting pre-vandalism. This is important b/c the student could not have known to alter his /her writing at that time. This is similar to a teacher giving the principal some of your work to help with the investigation.
Handwriting analysis Used in CSI to determine whether forgery has been committed or identify the author of writing samples. Forgery is most common on checks People have personal habits in their handwriting that make it unique. We can try to disguise our handwriting; however, experts can still tell if they were written by the same person.
Handwriting: No two are the same Class characteristics—features and dimensions of the letters When handwriting is in question, an investigator will ask for a handwriting sample to compare the questionable document against. The sample is a standard/ requested and collected writing. Collected writing: samples done BEFORE investigation. Might be applications, work documents, previous checks.
Teacher takes up the papers, mixes them up and hands you a #1 paper Make sure that it is NOT your own! This paper is your evidence Your job is to match it (writing on the stalls) to its owner’s writing sample (one of the #2 papers)
12 Basic Characteristics for Comparing Handwriting 1. Line quality: Do the letters flow or are they written with very intent strokes. Look over the “line quality” of the paper you are examining. Make line quality observations about your sample.
2. Spacing of words and letters. What is the average space between words and letters?
Make notes over the “spacing” of your evidence paper
3. Ratio of height, width, and size of letters: Are the letters consistent in height, width, and size? Observe your ratios and record your findings. Measure short and tall letters.
4. Lifting pen: Does the author lift his or her pen to stop writing a word and start a new word? Observe the “lifting pen” habits and record your findings.
5. Connecting strokes: How are capital letters connected to lower-case letters? Observe the “connecting strokes” habits and record your findings.
6. Strokes to begin and end: Where does the letter begin and end on a page? Observe the “strokes” habits and record your findings.
7. Unusual letter formation: Are any letters written with unusual slants or angles? Are some letters printed rather than written in cursive? Observe your “unusual letter formation” habits and record your findings.
8. Pen pressure: How much pressure is applied on upward and downward strokes? Observe any “pen pressure” habits and record your findings.
9. Slant: Do letters slant to the left or right? If slant is pronounced, a protractor may be used to determine the degree. Observe the “slant” habits. Use a protractor to record your findings.
10. Baseline habits: Does the author write on the line or does the writing go above or below the line? Observe any “baseline” habits and record your findings.
11. Fancy writing habits: Are there any unusual curls or loops or unique styles. Observe any “fancy writing” habits and record your findings.
12. Placement of diacritics: How does the author cross the t’s or dot the i’s. Observe any “diacritics” habits and record your findings for the top and bottom samples.
OKAY, Back to being Principal and finding the culprits. You have now researched one of the pieces of evidence of vandalism. Your job is to find the student responsible for it! Please staple any notes you took about the evidence to the vandalism and write your name on it in case we run out of time.
Time to investigate The teacher will place students sample writings around the room. Use the rest of class time to compare #1-12 of your evidence to #1-12 of student writing samples. Bring your evidence and student sample to the teacher ONLY when you are 100% sure you found your culprit> BEGIN!!!
Credits PRE-LAB, CSI in the classroom, By Jessica Pless. CSI Handwriting Lab, pg. 111-113. (Modified by Alyssa Henley) PPT “Write On!” Lab 1-1, pg. 8 Crime Scene Investigations, Real Life Science Labs for Grades 6-12, Pam Walker and Elaine Wood
Background to “Write On!” Royston Textiles called the state bureau of investigation last week to report a problem with one of their canceled checks. This check was made out to their consultant, Julian Harston. It had been mailed to him more than a month ago. However, Mr. Harston reported that he never received the check. Yet, the canceled check was in Royston Textiles’ bank statement this month. It had been endorsed. Mr. Harston feels that someone in his neighborhood took the check from his mailbox and forged his name on the back. Today you are provided with copies of Julian Harston’s signature written by people in his neigh orhood. Your job is to decide which sinature most closely matches the one on the check. This decision will help you determine if the check endorsement was forged.
WRITE ON! Lab Cut out your checks made to Julian Harston Turn the check over and endorse it. Checks cannot be cashed without being endorsed by the person the $ goes to. Please sign “Julian Harston” on the back of the check endorsing the check to be cashed at a bank. Use only blue or black ink. Write your name on a piece of notebook paper and attach it to your check with a paperclip. Turn it into your teacher.
Your teacher has selected one of the checks that was turned in yesterday and made several copies of the back of that check for each lab group. In today’s lab, your copy of that check is referred to as “the document in question”.
Each person in your lab group should cut out the check in Figure 3 and sign the name “Julian Harston” to the back in his or her own handwriting. Write your name on a piece of paper and attach it to the notebook paper with a paper clip. Place this in an designated area in the classroom.
Your lab group is a team of handwriting examiners. Using the information we have been learning about, the document in question provided by your teacher, a ruler, magnifying glass, and a protractor, examine the check your teacher handed out to you today. Complete the “Analysis of the Document in Question”.
Taking turns with other lab groups, compare the checks at the front of the room with this analysis. Determine which student committed the forgery.