Friday, March 13, 2009

Students Learn About Forensic Science

Investigator Mary Harris (center) shows students how to take a mold of a shoeprint found outside of the school. (L-R) Matthew Corrigan, Conner Gayda, Lindsey Flanders, Adam Perrett, Ashley Broderick, Ethan Roland and Joshua Tysor.

Young sleuths are learning the ins and outs of forensic science with the help of a seasoned pro from the Fayette County Sheriff’s Department.

Lifting fingerprints and taking shoe casts were two techniques that fourth grade enrichment students at Peeples Elementary learned could be used to help solve a crime. Investigator Mary Harris with the Fayette County Sheriff’s Department spent two days with the students demonstrating techniques for collecting evidence from a crime scene and discussing how investigators use the information to help catch criminals.

Harris’ two-day presentation tied into a yearlong unit the students have been studying called “Thinking Like A Scientist” through which they have been developing the skills of a forensic scientist. Although the students may not grow up to become crime scene investigators, teacher April Degennaro says the information they are learning can help them become citizens who are attune to protecting the order and safety of the community.

“They may be able to help authorities solve crimes if they are knowledgeable about the importance of observation and careful attention to protecting the area where a crime may have been committed,” she says.

Not only did the investigator show students techniques for collecting evidence from a crime scene, but Harris also shared her perspective about her job that tied into the universal theme for this year’s study, “perspectives.” Students learned that investigators use the different perspectives of witnesses, detectives, victims, and sometimes even the criminal, to solve cases.

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