All contents of this website © Thom Jones, 2016.
Our forensic science programs cover a wide variety of evidence types and collection techniques and range from one hour library programs to multi-day advanced courses.
Our forensic science programs have been a huge hit with kids and their parents. Please click HERE for a link to an article about one of our camps.
We examine evidence and do hands-on collection activities using real crime scene investigation supplies. Most programs include a mock crime scene where participants collect evidence, analyze it, and solve a crime. The more advanced programs also include a section on questioning witnesses and suspects, and processing of a vehicle for evidence.
I am now teaching most of my online courses through Outschool.com. At this time, Forensic Science and Unsolved Crimes are listed on their website, along with many others.
I have a new online Zodiac class. This is a high school level class that meets once a week for 10 weeks. It will involve a detailed look at all aspects of this iconic case, as well theories by authors who have devoted a great deal of time to solving it. For students who have taken Unsolved Crimes with me, I can say that this class is a much deeper look into this case.
One question that a lot of parents ask is whether these programs are appropriate for their children. I want to assure all parents that these programs are designed specifically for kids. I do not include any content that could be troubling to kids. For instance, in the programs where we discuss blood, we use only synthetic training blood, and we only talk about it in terms a few drops of blood, instead of a bloody crime scene. In fact, a lot of parents have said that they wanted to stay for a little while to make sure that everything was okay for their kids, but then ended up staying for the whole program because they were having so much fun working with their kids on this fascinating area of science.
Anna finding a positive result from the phenolphthalein test. Photo courtesy of Alicia Bayer.
Chemiluminescent reaction using BlueStar. Photo courtesy of Alicia Bayer.
Teen students developing latent fingerprints on a water bottle which was found as evidence in their mock crime scene at the Mississquoi National Wildlife Refuge. Photo courtesy of Ann Louise Santos.
A teen investigator documenting the location of evidence on the crime scene sketch at Mississquoi Nat. Wildlife Refuge. Photo courtesy of Ann Louise Santos.
We are now listed with some of the Arts in Ed BOCES programs in New York to facilitate easier scheduling for schools. We hope to be listed in more regions soon.
Comments from a parent who attended a program in West Hartford, CT:
We participated in the class this past Friday in West Hartford/Bloomfield.
Thom Jones, the instructor was really humorous, and he engaged all the kids – ages 7 – 13 or so – including the parents!
The class started by teaching us the basic methods of collecting evidence from a crime scene without disturbing the scene itself. We studied fingerprints, dusting, testing, imprints, shoes, fibers, hair, crime scene photography, etc. Mr. Jones shared with us several intriguing stories about actual cases and his own personal experiences. We spent about two and a half hours doing hands on work. And after lunch he presented us with a murder mystery (non graphic) to solve, and we all engaged in collecting evidence, and analyzing it, -- and based upon that, we interviewed witnesses. It was really challenging and fun to see how the plot was weaving and chancing directions – but in the end we collectively arrived at a common solution.
Not only did we learn about the science of forensics, but by putting it to use ourselves, we got a good understanding and appreciation of the job that police and detectives go through while investigating a crime.
It was great to be able to expose the kids to this.
My new course manual is available on Amazon. It covers a variety of evidence types and contains a lot of great photos, chapter questions, and links to resources for more information on topics of interest. You can click on the cover image to go to the Amazon listing.