Mixing deduction and classroom drama, CSI Brewster High School or Principles of Biomedical Science is a new yearlong Project Lead The Way class for juniors and seniors. Students are presented with a crime scene and physical evidence on the first day of school and over the course of the year will take a deep dive into forensics and analyze blood, hair, fingerprints, and polygraph evidence to solve the unexplained and sudden death of fictional victim Anna Garcia.
The classroom is set up like any science classroom with lab tables and sinks, but on the floor in the back is crime scene tape sectioning off a 5 x 8 foot area in which there is a body in a lab coat splayed out face down, blood splatter, a tipped over stool, large plastic blow flies, a graduated cylinder, a note and clumps of hair.
The facts presented to students on the first day are the name of the victim–Anna Garcia, what time she was found–10:00 am, who discovered her body–Taylor Diaz, and the victim’s height and weight–5’6” and 135 lbs.
The assignment today is for students to sketch out the scene and record observations. What evidence is at the scene? Can they come up with a story or plot to explain what happened?
“Why are those flies at the scene so big?” asked Monica Serafin?
“Those are blowflies–they are bigger and slower than normal flies– and can be found once a body starts to decay,” says Sarah Iacovelli, the science teacher.
“How long does it take before blow flies show up after someone dies?” asks Jordan Niles.
“That’s a great question,” says Iacovelli, “think about the ambient temperature. It would make a difference if it was hot or cold or if the body was inside or outside.”
“I think Anna Garcia was sitting on her stool and Tyler Diaz strangled her from behind–that’s why she is face down–he was jealous,” said James Perez Melendez.
Monica Serafin posited, “I think she might have gotten hit with a bat, that’s why there is blood splatter in two different areas.”
“But there is a graduated cylinder with blood near her wrist–maybe it was the chemicals that killed her. There are just so many possibilities,” said Laura Kurilenko.
To date, the crime is still an open investigation.