CSI: Creating student (and teacher) investigators: Using popular culture in professional development


The goal of this article is to present a description of a professional development program designed to immerse middle and high school teachers in an inquiry-based learning environment using a forensic science context and the consequent impact participating in this program had on teachers’ pedagogy. Teachers participated in a year-long program consisting of two summer institutes and one programming during the academic year. Teachers spent the first week of each summer institute exploring various science domains using a forensic science context. Week 2 was spent with approximately 100 seventh – twelfth grade students, pedagogy, and teachers taught these students the material they had learned in the prior week, with the support of grant personnel. Academic year activities included two on-campus follow-up meetings. Results revealed teachers were enthusiastic about reform-based pedagogy learned in the institute. Furthermore, many teachers implemented forensic science activities with their own classes during the academic year, using principles covered in the institute. Teachers believed the institute supported their pedagogical changes and acted as change-agents in their schools.

This article is part of a special issue of the Journal of Technology and Teacher Education (JTATE). 


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Karen L. Yanowitz
Tanja McKay
C. Ann Ross
Staria S. Vanderpool
Journal of Technology and Teacher Education
Teacher Professional Development and Pedagogy
Publication Year
Additional Disciplines
Bioscience - general