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North Miss. Teachers Using CSI Tactics

North Mississippi teachers learn to engage students with CSI techniques

Kristy Tindall (left) and Kimberly Jackson conduct a blood spatter experiment Photo courtesy of Ole Miss Communication
Kristy Tindall (left) and Kimberly Jackson conduct a blood spatter experiment
Photo courtesy of Ole Miss Communication

More than a dozen north Mississippi middle school science teachers recently spent two weeks studying blood spatter and footprint evidence, but they weren’t helping search for a killer. Rather, they were looking for new ways to engage their students in the classroom.

The teachers attended a workshop at the University of Mississippi on using crime scene investigation strategies. Called Creative Sciences Through Inquiry, aka CSI Mississippi, the program provides professional development for working teachers each year. This is the first time it has been hosted in north Mississippi.

“I have already uploaded four lesson plans from this course,” said Byhalia Middle School science teacher Kimberly Jackson. “Our children sometimes have problems with inquiry, and these activities will help them with that.”

Hosted by the Mississippi Experimental Project to Stimulate Competitive Research, known as EPSCoR, and supported by the UM Center for Educational Research and Evaluation, the course wrapped up June 14. Over two weeks, 13 teachers put on lab coats to learn how to conduct a variety of crime scene tests, including blood spatter, hair, footprint and fingerprint analysis, that they can implement in their own classrooms.

Teachers received a $1,000 living stipend and kits containing all essential materials and lesson plans to use in their own classes this fall.

“Some middle schools are fortunate enough to have labs, but a lot of them do not,” said Calhoun City Middle School teacher Kristy Tindall. “I have nothing. No microscopes or test tubes. This is how I get my supplies.”

The Mississippi EPSCoR Program takes CSI Mississippi to a different university in the state each year. Last year, the event was held at Jackson State University and next year, it goes to Mississippi Valley State University.

“Each teacher receives all the materials they need to immediately put these experiments into use at school,” said Amie Sins, Mississippi EPSCoR CSI Program facilitator and teacher at Hancock Middle School. “This provides them with a hands-on way to put math and science concepts into action.”

The Center for Educational Research and Evaluation partnered with the Mississippi EPSCoR program to evaluate the effectiveness of the workshop. After each day, the center’s staff conducted focus group meetings with participants to evaluate the workshop’s effectiveness.

“We’re also here to network,” Jackson said. “We can share ideas, make connections and help each other. We’re all teachers working toward a lot of common goals.” — Jerra A. Scott, Ole Miss News Desk

Adam Brown
Adam Brown
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