Session S70 (Wednesday, 2pm, Life Sciences 009)

P780: Teaching inquiry, application, and awareness through forensic science

Libba Mattison (JL Mann High Academy, USA)

As high school students think independently and collaborate with one another, inquiry creates a link between their prior understandings and application to new information (Llewellyn, 2005).  In regards to the Forensic Science classroom, one example of inquiry is to instruct small groups of students to develop mock crime scenes, place physical evidence in an approved area within the school, and process another group’s scene.  Students in each group are suspects, and evidence is analyzed and presented to a jury.  Not only are students engaged and working together to solve the crime through previously taught lab techniques, it is a great time saver for teachers with multiple classes.  In addition to having students set up crime scenes and solve cases through inquiry as new analytical techniques are introduced, it is important to also incorporate awareness about topics within forensic science.  For instance, instead of addressing “Drugs” through chapter notes and a drug analysis lab, the topic can be introduced as a school-wide initiative to inform students of the danger of drugs as they are a serious problem in schools.  An assignment to spark awareness is to have students create their own Photo Story to present information they have learned and place posters around the school to encourage peer intervention.


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