EHS Honors Biology and AP Biology students were hard at work last week trying to solve a murder during its annual CSI unit.
Since 2004, Mrs. Julia Doll, EHS science teacher, has been coordinating this yearly activity.
“Throughout the years, we’ve learned lessons on different things and have come up with different ways to keep evolving it to where it is today.”
It’s a unit that Doll relies heavily on others for as well. The school’s SROs are the officers on scene, while drama and theater provide the dead body and other individuals and are tasked with the make-up, the set, lighting, and sounds. Journalism and yearbook have also been part of the cross-curricular event.
The CSI unit begins with the scene day in which students learn of the dead body and have an hour to examine the scene by collecting evidence, taking pictures, and conducting interviews.
Doll even makes the scene as real as possible, making it dark before rain and thunder set in, which forces the students to work faster, but by still being accurate and efficient.
The next part of the activity is referred to as lab day where they are split into various groups to study the forensics through DNA, gels, solutions, footprints, fingerprints, hair, and blood spatter. As they work, they can ask questions to obtain more information to help them figure out who committed the crime.
“Sometimes they do solve it. Sometimes they don’t. Sometimes they don’t have enough information and have just circumstantial evidence,” said Doll. “They always want to assume, but we have to remind them they need factual information. This really takes them to a higher level of thinking.”
The unit also gives them other life lessons.
“Learning to adapt to different situations, working with people they may not know, stepping outside their comfort zone in tasks they are not comfortable with,” said Doll. “CSI is essentially deductive reasoning and that is something we use in all parts of our life – not just solving a murder.”