Church Hill Middle School hosts Forensic Night
Students at Church Hill Middle School participate in Hawkins County’s first Middle School Forensic Night.
Students from Church Hill Middle School, Surgoinsville Middle School and Bulls Gap School recently had the opportunity to learn about careers in forensic science.
The December event, Hawkins County’s first Middle School Forensic Night, was hosted at Church Hill Middle School.
Families in attendance heard from special guest speaker Dr. Dawnie Steadman from the University of Tennessee’s Forensic Anthropology Center.
Surgoinsville Middle and Bulls Gap School were able to take part in Steadman’s presentation online, via video link. The method is known as “distance learning.”
“We could never have three hundred students from three middle schools come together in an intimate setting, but distance learning allows us to have small groups come together from across the county,” Hawkins County Supervisor of Career and Technical Education and Distance Learning Adrian Smith said.
Steadman discussed several disciplines of forensic science, including her specialty: forensic anthropology. She stressed the importance of math, science and technical skills in pursuing a career in forensic science.
Among the many questions students asked Steadman was whether she enjoyed her job.
“Yes, I enjoy my job,” she replied. “I am passionate about what I do. I think everyone needs to choose a career that they can be passionate about.”
The presentation was followed by a “Missing Cookies” mystery that students and parents solved together through forensic science labs prepared by the faculty from each school.
The labs included white powder analysis, soil analysis, chromatography and fingerprinting.
The completion of the labs revealed one of the school’s teachers as the thief of the missing cookies.
“The academic lessons performed by the students were based off seventh and eighth grade state standards. These lessons helped illustrate how state standards are used in real life scenarios,” Church Hill Middle eighth grade science teacher Jason Joyner said.
The Family and Community Engagement Department of Hawkins County Schools sponsored the parent engagement event.
Hawkins County Family and Community Engagement Coordinator Dr. Michelle Harless said the event was held to show parents the ways their students are taught through Common Core State Standards.
“It is important for our students to be able to question and analyze; not recite a set of facts,” Harless said of the standards.
She added that the county’s department of education wanted to show the importance of strong math, science, and communication skills.
“We believe that there are many ways families can take part in the scientific inquiry process together through real world problems. Hopefully, this activity has generated some ideas that parents will use with their children at home,” Harless said.
-From Contributed Reports