CSI: Classroom Student Investigations
This ITEST strategies project titled Classroom Student Investigations, uses the popularity of the Crime Scene Investigation television show, involving forensic science investigation, as a metaphor to train teachers in forensic science topics and use that training in their science classrooms to stimulate and encourage middle and upper school students in science topics generally. The project is expected to lead to increased student interest in STEM topics using students interest in the culturally popular portrayal of forensic science to convey many basic STEM principles. The project has two research objectives: 1. to examine the impact on students interest in STEM careers in classrooms of participating teachers and 2. examine how participation in the program affects participating teacher implementation of reform based pedagogy and technology in their classrooms. The project involves development of materials in a variety of forensic science topics and applied in a two week summer institute for participating teachers to convey content knowledge and develop laboratory skills using forensic science as an integrating theme. The program expects to target 30 teachers a year and 120 students in one-day summer teacher workshops. Teachers will then integrate the forensic topic curricula into their science classroom studies during the regular school year. The approach and the teacher training is expected to influence students in the science classes of the participating teachers and schools in the target area of the mid-South states. Based on the success of the prior effort this project expands the training and development assistance and extends the training to schools in neighboring states of Tennessee, Missouri, and Mississippi. Recruitment of teachers will focus on high-needs school districts. This project will expand the amount of material available for teacher training; increase the teacher institute to 2 weeks; have teachers provide a workshop for students during the summer institute; provide on-going support for development of lesson plans and implementation of the new curricula during the school year for participating teachers and evaluate the progress of the expanded project towards its goals.