Murder and mayhem have been foremost in the minds of some of the students at Vermilion Forks School as of late. They have been studying the fine details of forensic science through a fun team project. Teachers Shar Anderson and Georgina Tarswell started off this section of the Grade 7 Science Studies with the basic steps of forensics and from there the kids have been able to come up with some interesting stories of criminal intrigue.
The students first learned the “how-tos” of forensic science; how to lift fingerprints, collect hair samples, analyze hand writing, identify footprints and, in general, gather evidence. They they have to learn how to connect the dots, so that the evidence talks to them. “The kids have to figure out the crime scene story based solely on the evidence they collect,” said Tarswell.
How do they do this? All the Grade 7s were split up into teams. Two days a week for several weeks, the teams are either setting up a mock crime scene for the other teams to investigate or amongst the investigators. Either way the students have been enjoying the interactive lessons.
The teams split up into specialized areas of expertise. They practised their interview skills on the mock witnesses, measured and compared footprints to the shoes of the suspects, examined fingerprints against suspects, collected hair samples and thoroughly scoured the crime scene for evidence. At the end of the investigation, each team had to reveal who the murder was.
“The investigation period is crucial,” stated Tarswell. “If they miss evidence, they can’t decipher the story.” With 10 teams and 50 kids, the crime scene stories have been varied. “I have been really impressed with your stories,” stated Anderson. “Most of you have put a lot of thought into creating a good solid crime scene story with some interesting twists.”
Anderson and Tarswell both like the fact that the students are now putting their classroom time spent on the topic in a possible real life scenario. “I also like the fact that they are totally dependent on one another in their team,” said Anderson. “The whole investigation has to be a co-operative effort.”