By Doug Schroder


STILLMAN VALLEY – For the past few weeks, the 7th grade Science classes at Meridian Junior High have been trying to solve the mock crime scene of the murder of Paul Dudden (based off of an Agatha Christie Story). The school received a crime scene kit purchased by Stillman’s PTO to make this project happen. The students had to analyze the crime scene, collect evidence, perform multiple experiments, analyze their data, and finally create their theory of who or whom murdered Paul Dudden. The students, split into six different groups, sketched the crime scene. Then they did analysis of the soil, handwriting, fingerprints, hair and drugs. The students used higher level thinking skills to create a PowerPoint presentation to present their case based on their findings and evidence.

For this project multiple outside community members/parents volunteered their time to help the students learn more about Crime Scene Investigation. The first visitor was Mr. Motisi, a private investigator with over 30 years of experience in law enforcement. He was there to help the students decide how they were going to analyze the crime scene. Even one school board member showed up just to observe the class.

Another classroom visitor came on Thursday, April 23, who provided more information to the students about what they do in their jobs as current Crime Scene Investigators. Illinois State Policemen, John Willis, helped set up a visit by Angela Mathew, who is an Illinois Crime Scene Investigator for the Illinois State Police. Officer Mathew used a Power Point presentation during her visit to show the students about her job. Illinois has the third largest crime lab system in the world, and the second largest in the USA. There are six labs statewide.

Officer Mathew also went over the different divisions of crime scene investigation, which are artist and diagram, bloodstain analysis, entomology and bullet trajectory. She showed the classes how to see footprints on the floor by shining a flashlight at an oblique angle and she also did a demonstration on how to get fingerprints.

 Officer Mathew also explained the CSI Effect. The CSI Effect stems from TV shows leading people to expect things that can’t happen. It also includes criminals trying to clean up or stage crimes based off of TV show. What happens in TV and real life are totally different.

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