The Rest of the Story: A Study of Death, Decomposition and Metamorphosis

Janet Raybon, Science, Myers Park High School

Final Unit (PDF)  Implementing Common Core Standards (PDF)


The use of insects to determine post mortem interval dates back to the 13th
century. It was not until the 1990’s that forensic entomology began being used in death
and criminal investigation as a way to determine estimated time of death or connect a
suspect to a crime scene. By knowing and understanding the metamorphic cycle of the
common blowfly (blue or green bottle fly), a forensic entomologist can use weather data
and life cycle stages to determine an approximate post mortem interval. This unit
introduces the learner to the processes of death and decomposition and connects them
with the metamorphic cycle of the blowfly. Through research and field studies, students
will engage in the work of a forensic entomologist as well as a crime scene investigator.