As part of Mayfield City Schools' STEM2M program, the Medical Detectives elective offered to eighth-graders is an 18-week course designed to teach students about the functions of the human body through problem-based learning opportunities that include dissecting a sheep's brain. For 13-year-old Karen Argie, the payoff for the class was a capstone project that had students investigating a mock murder mystery.
The day of the final assignment, we walked into the classroom and there was caution tape on the door. There was masking tape in an outline of a body. We were given a scenario, and we made a hypothesis and were able to put our hypothesis to the test using all the different tasks and the crime scene records. We did a virtual autopsy to see what the forensic pathologist would do in the autopsy. We dusted each suspect's fingerprints, and we had to identify the different types. We tested for the time of death using a rigor mortis equation, temperature probes and bottles of water to see which one would cool first and would the approximate time of death check with the suspects' alibis. We extracted DNA through electrophoresis. If you compiled that information, you were able to correctly identify which of the suspects committed the crime. It felt like you were in a lab solving something. Solving a murder. — as told to James Bigley II