An enrichment program has become a real life opportunity for students learning crime scene investigation in middle school. Students are challenged to reach beyond standard curriculum, and apply science in real life applications.
At Founders’ Hall Middle School’s Academy in Math and Science program, known as AIMS, students have the benefit of a weekly enrichment that includes science. This year, the focus was on forensic science, capitalizing on an interest generated by popular television shows.
“Students have collected evidence and fingerprints and performed stomach-content analysis,” teacher Amy Kastronis said. “They’re all under the impression, mostly from what they see on television, that everything can be solved in half an hour. I think they’re interested in seeing how this work is done in the real world.”
The class is able to take advantage of visits from local law enforcement professionals. One such visitor was McKeesport Detective Joe Osinski who spoke with the students about crime scene preservations and how to collect and photograph evidence.
“Everybody leaves something at a crime scene, whether it’s DNA through skin cells and hair follicles or it’s a fingerprint or footprint,” he said. “There’s always evidence. The question is whether we can link it to a real suspect.”
He showed the students how to use evidence markers, crime scene tape, digital cameras, and hinge lifters for fingerprints. He also showed them how to mold footprints out of mud, dirt, and snow.