First presenter Co-presenter(s)
Name :  Patricia Leinbach * Name:  Carl Leinbach *
E-mail: E-mail:  
Affiliation: Coroner of Adams County (retired) Name:   
Department:   E-mail:    
City: Name:   
State/Province: Pennsylvania   E-mail:    
Country: USA Name:   
01-06  E-mail:    
Session: 1- Computer Algebra in Education Schedule:
Thursday, 14:00
Related website:  
Title of
Using Forensic Investigations and CAS to Motivate Student Interest in Mathematics I


Patricia Leinbach and Carl Leinbach propose to give two consecutive sessions on the topic of “Using Forensic Investigations and Computer Algebra to Motivate the Study of Mathematics.” Each session will remain within the usual Education session format (20-minute lecture, 10-minute question/discussion period).

The first session will deal with the layout of a crime scene based on Patricia’s experience and use actual scene materials to the extent that they do not compromise individual’s rights to privacy to show where mathematics is used and also the type of mathematics. The second session will deal with the student use of CAS to analyse the material and data gathered at the scene of the coroner’s investigation.


It is an unfortunate occurrence, although not uncommon, that students fail to appreciate the importance of mathematics during their student career. Later in life, either through experiences in their jobs or during the further study of a subject of interest, they regret that they did not pay more attention during their mathematics classes. Another deterrent to their learning is the seeming emphasis on techniques and not the reasoning and logic behind the techniques. The purpose of these sessions is to provide a motivation for learning mathematics and the use of CAS to provide a shift in the emphasis that students perceive and dislike so much about mathematics teaching.

In this portion of our two session presentation, we will carefully examine an actual crime scene and the opportunities for using mathematics to gain a forensic (legally accepted) insight into the evidence that is found on the scene. In addition we will look at the type of mathematics that is required to gain this insight and discuss the student level at which this mathematics may be presented. We will also examine the role of the CAS in the analysis of the data and evidence collected at the crime scene. The major portion of this session will be presented by Pat Leinbach and the Coroner’s perspective will be emphasized.