Forensic science extends beyond the crime scene


Bronlyn Holland

Natalie Burnham, senior, explains to the fourth grade class about their fingerprints magnified on balloons. Burnham enjoyed the fingerprint lab when the students lifted their fingerprints after they dusted for them.

Bronlyn Holland, Editor in Chief

Extending the learning to the Ola cluster, Ola Elementary students experienced a day with the forensic science students to learn all different aspects of forensic science on Tuesday, April 23 to Thursday, April 25. Each day a different grade level from the gifted program learned about forensic science. On Tuesday fourth grade visited, Wednesday fifth grade visited and Thursday third grade visited.

“When we did architecture in the fall, I looked up to see who the architecture teacher was, I emailed her and asked her if that would be something they would like to do…Looking at your [high school’s] website, I saw you had a forensic science class and asked Mrs. Dill and told her we would be learning that in the second semester and could we come and work things out, ” Lori Treadwell, gifted teacher at Ola Elementary school, said.

Bronlyn Holland
Esperanza Banos, senior, explains hair analysis to the fourth grade class. Students participated in three stations during their time at the high school.

Throughout the course of several visits to the high school for vertical teaming, Treadwell contacted Ansley Dill, science teacher, about a day to learn different aspects of forensic science. Vertical teaming is when the elementary students and high school students participate in collaborating their learning abilities into one subject.

“Ms. Treadwell contacted me a few months back and asked if they [elementary students] could come over and see our forensic science class. From there, it transpired to a lab day,” Dill said.

There were three stations set up, which included fingerprints, hair analysis and questioned documents. While there are more subjects within forensic science, Dill decided the three subjects were best for the elementary students.

“I thought the students would get the most out of these subject areas and I thought it was something they would be able to talk about with their families,” Dill said.

I thought it was something they would be able to talk about with their families,”

— Ansley Dill

The students split up into three groups, so each student had the opportunity to participate at each station. Peyton Jinks, senior, enjoyed the fingerprint station and teaching the students about their fingerprint patterns and latent fingerprints.

“I loved explaining to the kids how fingerprints work and identifying the minutiae patterns,” Jinks said.

Natalie Burnham, senior, also enjoyed working on fingerprints with the students.

“They could figure out how do something and if they liked it, they could come here in high school and take it as a class, even though they already learned it…I liked showing them how to lift their prints and showing them their print…Fingerprints are very interesting to see,” Burnham said.

Bronlyn Holland
(left to right) Alexandria Phillips, senior, and Nakyah Grayson, senior, show fifth graders how to identify counterfeit documents. Students learned the different markings each document has to know if it is real or counterfeit.

While this day only consisted of forensic science, Treadwell’s past students participated in vertical teaming with other classes offered at the high school.

“I knew about coming over to the high school when I brought my younger students a couple of years ago and we built birdhouses with Mr. Dickerson’s class and Mr. Huff’s class…We were vertical teaming with the science classes and the agricultural class, so I knew that it was possible in the future,” Treadwell said.

The high school holds many learning opportunities for elementary students and Jinks believes other classes can be beneficial to them.

“I think maybe a coding course. It’s kind of what I’m doing right now and I think it’ll be really beneficial,” Jinks said.