Class gives students hands-on experience in crime scene investigationSubmitted: 06/03/2014
Story By Lauren Stephenson

Class gives students hands-on experience in crime scene investigation
EAGLE RIVER - Teachers look for ways to make learning engaging. One Northland Pines High School science teacher created a hands-on way for students to use science and math, without even really noticing it.

Northland Pines Science Teacher Ann Perry wanted to get more students interested in science. She took a cue from some of their favorite crime scene shows, like CSI. Seven years ago, she created the school's Investigations and Forensic Science course. Tuesday, the students took their final exam: investigating a mock crime scene.

"We do a blood splatter unit, and the kids do trigonometry without knowing they're doing trigonometry," says Perry. "We do forensic entomology and so they learn the life cycle of insects. So there's a way to incorporate all the science into the course."

Perry even gets rotting meat to show students how maggots break it down.

"Mrs. Perry makes it fun and we do a lot of labs and stuff where it's like actually things that we would do on a normal crime scene and stuff and experiments," says Forensic Science student Shauna Freund.
"They spend the first half of the year doing all the inside lab work, if they were a lab assistant or a tech, what they would end up doing," says Perry. "And then for our final exam, the students come out and we actually do the investigation of a crime scene."

That crime scene and investigation is based on a real murder that took place in the 1980s in Conover.

"I thought it was going to be a lot more different - like being in the field and stuff," says Freund, "but it's kind of cooler being in the class and doing the experiments and actually doing first-hand stuff."

Freund and student Tim Ebert loved the class so much, they may pursue a career in forensic science.

"I'd say the evidence technician is pretty cool," says Ebert, "the person who actually goes out to the crime scene and documents everything and takes a picture of it and sends it into the lab for testing and all that."

"We're always trying to get our students to perceive that science is relevant to what's going on," says Perry.

"It's a great way to learn more about how things are done and just opens your eyes to different ways of thinking and understanding," says Ebert.

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