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The Jagged Edge™ Glass Fragment Identification

A fatal car crash leaves 3 dead after rolling down Backbone Mountain. But when glass fragments are found along the roadway, new questions are raised...



When investigators discover three deceased victims at a vehicle crash site over the side of Backbone Mountain, they retrace the vehicle’s path and also discover several pieces of broken glass lying in the roadway. Could this glass have come from the crashed car? If so, how and why?

Your students will be tasked with figuring out if the roadside glass fragments match the vehicle found below, using visual inspection and refractive indexing.

As in all Lyle and Louise modules, this kit is geared to high school and undergraduate courses, and is matched to National Science Education Standards. This kit is designed for 6 labs groups (up to 30 students).

Next Generation Science Standards

  • MS-PS4-2. Develop and use a model to describe that waves are reflected, absorbed, or transmitted through various materials.

Common Core Standards

  • CCSS.Math.Content.8.EE.C.7 Solve linear equations in one variable.
  • CCSS.Math.Content.HSN-Q.A.3 Choose a level of accuracy appropriate to limitations on measurement when reporting quantities.
  • CCSS.Math.Content.HSF-LE.A.1b Recognize situations in which one quantity changes at a constant rate per unit interval relative to another.
Included Materials
  • Fully illustrated teacher and student guide
  • PowerPoint lecture
  • Microscope Slides
  • Microscope Cover Slips
  • Refractive Index Liquid 1: nD=1.45 (1 Set of 6 Bottles)
  • Refractive Index Liquid 2: nD=1.47 (1 Set of 6 Bottles)
  • Refractive Index Liquid 3: nD=1.49 (1 Set of 6 Bottles)
  • Headlight Reference Glass (6 envelopes)
  • Bottle Reference Glass (6 envelopes)
  • Evidence Questioned Glass (6 envelopes)
  • Evidence Known Glass (6 envelopes)
Required Materials
  • Microscope (6)
  • Laboratory Gloves
  • Safety Glasses/Goggles
  • Sodium Lamp or 589nm Wavelength Filter (optional)
Storage Conditions Cool and Dark (Ambient)
Stability Indefinite

Teacher Manuals

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