As the final weeks of school unfolded there was some mock mayhem in the media center at Osseo Senior High. Students in the Health Sciences magnet program collaborated in a CSI-style whodunit to uncover the details of a mock crime.
The school’s media center was set up like a crime scene for students to investigate based on skills they learned in their classes.
“This is really a hands-on way to tie together all the concepts students have learned throughout the year,” said physics teacher Bill Huston, one of three teachers overseeing the project.
He, along with chemistry teacher Cullen Devries and biology teacher Norma Arellano devised the weeklong study to provide students the opportunity to see real-world application of scientific concepts while developing teamwork and critical thinking skills.
Students learned about crime scene investigation basics including crime scene vocabulary, evidence collection and types of evidence as well as crime scene protocol. They also learned about the different responsibilities of crime scene personnel.
“I felt like the character Morgan on from the TV show Criminal Minds,” said Bailey Durham, a junior in the health science chemistry class.
With the basics under their belt, students learned about the crime: the victim was injured in the media center while checking his Facebook page. Students viewed the crime scene and collected evidence, which they also tested in a “crime lab.” They spent a day meeting with students in other science classes to share their insights and develop a theory, which was presented at the end of the week.
“It was fun working with the sophomore health science biology students and senior physics students to try to put together the evidence to figure out the crime,” said junior Amy Aakhus, another health science chemistry student.
Many students found it an eye-opening experience to see how science plays a real-life role in a crime scene.
“Physics has a lot to do with solving crimes,” said Bianca Scarfe, a senior in the health science physics class. “Physics helped figure out who was sitting and who was standing at the time of the crime.”
Another senior in the class, Brett Meyer, said the exercise demonstrated how the different types of science work together to solve a crime.
Technology enhanced the experience as students were able to review videotaped interviews and witness reports that were gathered on a website created for the project. Several students captured the crime scene on their smartphones via photos and videos to help them recall the visual evidence in greater detail throughout the week.
Many students in the Health Sciences magnet program at Osseo have aspirations to enter a career in the medical or science field, with former students going on to all kinds of careers from EMT’s to nurses, paramedics, firefighters and more. This experience allows them to practice investigative and observation skills crucial to these types of careers. It also exposes them to other potential career opportunities that rely on the skills they have developed in the Health Sciences program.
“It was so much fun feeling like a detective,” said junior Hannah Holzhauser.
-Published June 13, 2014