Students play investigators

Main Street students investigate mock crime

Contributed Photo

SOLEDAD — Main Street Middle School eighth-graders recently investigated a mock crime scene and wrote their conclusions to the scenario.

Students were taken into the science lab and came across a tarp covering a “dead body”; in this case, it was a CPR dummy and not a real person. The body was surrounded by clues with crime scene tape, fingerprinting powder and numbers marking different pieces of evidence.

“It was two days where the different eighth-grade classes took each of their class periods into the lab,” said Science Teacher Tom Ford. “Just within one class period, the students had to write all the evidence that they saw and marked.”

The mock crime scene was an idea devised by teachers Elva Garcia and Ford to incorporate writing into the science classrooms.

“The way we do that is through CER, Claim Evidence Reasoning,” said Garcia. “We came up with this scenario to give them a real-life, hands-on working model of how to use a CER.”

Prior to the mock crime scene, students and their teachers went through background on how to write and make a claim, how to look for evidence and how to write their reasoning behind the conclusions they drew.

“A lot of the students have gotten into it so much that at first, we were not going to give just one answer,” said Ford. “We left clues that students could think it was done by a bunch of different people. There was a staff idea and a whistle.”

Eight-grader Israel Gustarinas liked the mock crime science because the project took place outside of the classroom and gave him the chance to get up, walk around and investigate.

“I learned a lot of new things about evidence and reason,” said fellow student James Pantoja. “When detectives or policemen during a crime have to state the evidence, prove that it was the suspect, know what happened and how it happened so they can narrow it down.”

Soledad Police Department also stopped by the mock crime scene at Main Street and provided the crime scene tape and fingerprinting dust.

Maria Morales said there were a lot of projects like the mock crime scene and it was cool seeing the crime scene and the police officer coming to Main Street Middle School.

“My favorite part was investigating people to see who killed the mannequin,” said student Megan Salas.

Ford and Garcia said they were thinking about doing a similar project next year to teach the Next Generation Science Standard (NGSS).


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