Cooperative Extension Service
In the News - February 2013
EXAMINING THE EVIDENCE -- Students work with Pocahontas High School biology teacher Shawn Kelly as they sift through the evidence collected in a forensics activity. The mock crime scene is part of a 4-H STEM program. (U of A System Division of Agriculture photo by Cally Shore)
POCAHONTAS, Ark. – “CSI: High School” sounds like the newest drama hitting prime time TV. But at one Randolph County high school, it's an experience like no other.
With the flash of a camera at a mock crime scene, students at Pocahontas High School got the chance to take a deeper look at forensic science in last year's Investigation Discovery, a forensic science club for 10th graders. The club, created by Cally Shore, a 4-H program assistant in Randolph County, introduces students to the skills used by professionals at real crime scenes.
“I needed an interesting way to get into the high school and introduce some older youth to the 4-H experience,” Shore said. “My thought was just to do something that would capture the interest of a young person and with all the forensic shows that we watch on TV today, I knew which avenue to take. Forensic Science.”
In the 2011-12 school year, 12 students met with Shore to learn the ins and outs of forensics such as observations skills to be able to notice subtle differences in a scene. Students also learned how professionals collect evidence to piece together the clues. At the end of the school year, Shore worked with local investigators at the Randolph County Fairgrounds to create a “crime scene” for the students in which they put their skills to use.
“There were 'live' dead people, bullet casings, cans strewed about and many other pieces of evidence,” Shore said. “The students were so involved in the processing of the scene that they actually forgot it was fake.”
Shore said the program allowed students to put their critical thinking skills into action while learning a little more about 4-H.
“The students are just beginning to notice that 4-H has many other opportunities besides cooking and cows,” she said. “The robotics program has been a new avenue that I am traveling this year and it has been a big hit.”
Creating Investigation Discovery along with six other new 4-H clubs, led Shore to win the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture's Cooperative Extension Early Career-Classified award. Shore has been with 4-H for four years, working within the schools and community.
In September, students will once again have a chance to learn about forensics as Shore is working with local investigators to develop the program for the 2013-14 school year. As word spreads at the schools, Shore can expect a larger number of students participating, eager to search for evidence while learning new skills and gaining confidence.
“The students said they felt very lucky their class was chosen for this pilot program,” Shore said, “and that they have never attempted any type of class like this before because they thought they would be intimidated.”
For more information about 4-H, contact your county extension agent, or visit http://kidsarus.org/.
The Cooperative Extension Service is part of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture and offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, gender, age, disability, marital or veteran status, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.
February 8, 2013
By Lisa Lakey
For the Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture
Media Contact: Mary Hightower
Extension Communications Specialist
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
University of Arkansas • Division of Agriculture