As part of a effort to make learning relate to real life situations, mock crime scenes give students ideas about careers while they are solving problems.

Soft SkillsAt Evans Junior High School in Bloomington, Illinois, seventh graders solved a mock murder for a week, as teachers mixed the tactics into the usual curriculum.

“There was a lot of prep that went into this. I could tell the teachers worked hard; it was really realistic,” said seventh-grader Aniyah Allen Benson.

An empty classroom had caution tape at the entrance, with splattered stage blood, fingerprints, and murder weapons.

The class assumed roles of detectives, lawyers, judges, bailiffs, arresting officers, and jury members. Teachers were suspects and witnesses.

“The goal is to do something highly engaging that ties to all their core classes like science, social studies and reading,” said Candice Wehmeyer, language arts teacher. “It has kept them engaged and focused the week before spring break.”

Some of the lessons covered included DNA and blood types; the Constitution and Miranda rights, and they used coding to enter evidence as they mapped the crime scene.  They analyzed small details in the stories told by the witnesses.

“It’s a very realistic project. They’re dealing with motives and law and how it impacts them. They’re finding it mature and engaging,” said Wehmeyer.

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