The broad subject of science covers topics ranging from inorganic chemistry to biophysics. The Forensic Science and Aquatic Science classes incorporate various fields of science and delve deeper into their respective studies. Both classes largely focus their curriculums on labs and projects; they provide their students a new atmosphere compared to other science classrooms.
“While some forensic scientists travel to the scene of the crime to collect the evidence for themselves, others occupy a laboratory role, performing analysis on objects brought to them by other individuals,” Forensic Science teacher Stephanie Chronister said.
Forensic Science ties in the world of law with the world of science. Any piece of evidence ranging from broken glass to bloodstains can be examined, sending a defendant behind bars or declaring the defendant innocent. Scientists in the field can also testify as witnesses in criminal cases in addition to their laboratory or crime scene investigation roles.
“While any field could technically be forensic, certain sections have developed over time to encompass the majority of forensically-related cases,” Chronister said.
Chronister has been teaching the class for three years and even started the program at Tompkins. Chronister assesses her students primarily through multiple-choice tests, but she also incorporates labs and group projects. Some of the labs the students perform throughout the year are the glass fragmentation lab, the bloodstain pattern analysis lab, and even the maggot art lab where the students paint with maggots. At the end of the year Chronister allows students to research careers based on forensic science.
“Because of our class and my excitement from our Anthropology and Entomology Unit, a student of mine is now pursuing a career as a forensic pathologist. It definitely made me feel good as a teacher, “ Chronister said.
In Aquatic Science, students learn about the water system and take care of fish tanks. Aquatic Science Teacher Scoie Green, who has been teaching the class for two years, has students organized in groups that work together to look over their fish tanks.
“Students exercise responsibility through feeding, cleaning of tanks, and monitoring their overall well-being,” Green said.
In addition to learning about the water system, students also learn about the impact of hurricanes, which has significance due to the recent hurricane. Students are primarily assessed through multiple-choice tests, but PowerPoint presentations take place as well.
“The most significant assessment is the care of fish and maintenance of tanks which is more performance-based,” Green said.
Another unique activity includes personifying atoms to create a story; students give atoms human-like characteristics and relate them to concepts taught in the class. Students go to the computer lab to create these stories. Many students who take the class are already interested in life sciences like marine biology while others take the class for fun.
“My favorite part of the class is the setup process of the fish tanks. As a teacher, I am learning so much in this class,” Green said.