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Friday, Aug. 1, 2014

Middle school students to solve mystery, CSI-style

Thursday, December 5, 2002

SIKESTON - An unsolved mystery, some suspicious fibers and a lot of questions.

It's CSI, Sikeston Public School-style and for those who love a good mystery it's a dream come true.

On Thursday Kathy Eldridge will turn her Middle School Science Club into a crime lab, making the Criminal Science Investigation project as real as possible.

"Our science department was brainstorming activities to do with our new science club," explained the seventh-grade science teacher who is also the department chairperson. "We discussed how much we enjoy the CSI show and thought that an activity related to criminal science would be enjoyed by the students. I, myself, enjoy the mystery and science of CSI. I have always enjoyed reading mystery novels and love seeing how they can use technology such as DNA testing and chemical analysis to solve crimes.

"Our activity will be more age appropriate. CSI does deal with adult issues and we will not present any inappropriate material to our students. We will be making similar observations but obviously the show uses expensive equipment that most police departments would not have access to. Our activity will stress what our local police department deals with when collecting evidence."

In previous years Eldridge has used fingerprinting activities to show how everyone's fingerprints are different and how they used as evidence but this is the first project of its kind here.

The 40 sixth and seventh graders will meet in Officer Rachel Groaner's office at the Sikeston Department of Public Safety for a briefing of the crime. The students will then be divided into groups to collect evidence. Each group will have a different job which include taking digital photographs of the crime scene, drawing the scene, lifting fingerprints, making observations about the area and interviewing witnesses who will be science teachers. After collecting the evidence the students will return to Groaner's room to share and analyze the evidence. Then they will draw conclusions about the crime. And this will all take place in one hour after school.

"Rachel Groaner was eager to help when we approached her with the idea of teaching the kids how evidence is collected," Eldridge said. "She is a positive role model for our students and she is great at interacting with our students. he works as our school resource officer."

"I think it will be fun," said 12-year-old Alli Harper. "I like the mystery of seeing who actually did it and getting to use all the materials and that type of stuff to find out."

The project is one to which the students are looking forward and it will also be a valuable teaching tool, say Eldridge and the other science teachers who sponsor the Science Club and will be assisting with the activity, Andrea Harper, Julia Ruesler and Rick Justice.

"We want the students to realize that the skills they are learning in science are life skills and not just something to memorize for class. Throughout their lives they may need to use problem solving skills such as identifying problems, gathering information, conducting experiments, analyzing data and drawing conclusions."