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CSI Comes to SMS

posted Dec 1, 2017, 12:04 PM by Lee Stephens   [ updated Dec 1, 2017, 12:05 PM ]
Dr. Lea Evering, Lt Casey Bowling and Investigator Mike Teramano at the "scene of the crime."
The crime scene investigation was front page news and the students couldn’t stop talking about it afterward. So, how did the novel study of The Outsiders lead to a crime scene recreation and mock investigation involving two lead investigators from the Seneca Police Department, two seventh grade classes at Seneca Middle School and end up on the front page of the Seneca Journal to boot?

It all started with the creative mind of Seneca Middle School ELA teacher Dr. Lea Evering. She admits to watching too many television crime dramas which quickly served as inspiration as she sought out a unique and interesting way to link the fictional events in the next chapter of The Outsiders with real life. With a murder scene about to be featured in the chapter they were soon to read, why not stage that murder scene in her classroom for her students to solve, she thought. Having an acquaintance with Lt. Casey Bowling, a lead investigator with the Seneca Police Department, also helped bring her kernel of an idea to full fruition and with real world authenticity.

A few phone calls, a good deal of brainstorming and total secrecy led to a complete surprise for her students as they entered her classroom on the day of the reenactment. There they were faced with a “body” and various pieces of potential evidence, all surrounded by crime scene tape. Once they were introduced to Bowling and his fellow lead investigator Mike Teramano, who is also a certified crime scene investigator, they quickly learned that each of them would play a role in investigating the “crime scene” in front of them. To do so they would use the actual equipment and techniques that the Seneca Police Department uses in their actual investigations. From securing and surveying the scene, documenting the scene through photography and detailed sketches, collecting and processing evidence and interviewing witnesses and suspects, the students did it all. Watching it all was a reporter from the Seneca Journal who documented the scene and investigation with her own camera, took notes and wrote a feature article about the activity which appeared on the front page of the next day’s edition of the newspaper.

In the end, the students were able to not only learn valuable information about the victim and the events leading up to and including the “crime” but were also able to determine whodunit. After this most memorable lesson and as they move forward in their novel study, Evering’s students will undoubtedly have a good understanding of crime scene investigation and have no trouble remembering the novel’s events and the characters as well.