While some of us may be at home watching crime TV shows on Netflix to pass the time, students in Ms. Alexis Custer’s Forensic Science course are studying it at home as part of the newly expanded popular course. The hands-on course, which was converted to a full-year course this year, provides students with a wide range of projects and activities that allow them to explore multiple facets of forensics, including crime scene investigation, DNA in forensics, lip print analysis, and so much more.
Before the current health crisis, Ms. Custer’s students were creating incredible projects to share at PHS’s parents’ night. They were able to create dioramas, short stories, or crime scenes based on what they’ve learned so far. For the students’ final projects, they would normally be able to create their own rendition of an episode of a crime show using what they’ve learned throughout the year.
The class also were able to have forensic experts visit the classroom and attend eye-opening field trips before the current crisis. Ms. Custer’s students were, and still are, discovering the ways that forensic science is applied in the real world and the different careers that are possible with a forensic science degree. Most recently, students were able to visit the New Jersey State Police Museum to see an exhibit on the local Charles Lindbergh Kidnapping, a subject they were already learning about in class.
However, just because the class had to shift to on online platform doesn’t mean that Ms. Custer had to cancel all the projects she had planned! She worked diligently to adjust to the new format, and now students will be listening to and creating podcasts in relation to the topics they have been studying from March through May.
Her students have also been able to create serial killer cereal boxes from home, and the results were impressive. Ms. Custer also created a digital menu of the different topics they were supposed to cover throughout the rest of the semester, and is allowing students to pick from assignments that interest them, on topics such as autopsies, bones, bugs and toxicology.
Currently, her students have been working on book review projects that critique the forensic science, and have been working on these projects for the past eight days exclusively. Students were able to choose books from Ms. Custer’s True Crime Novel library, which consists of over 100 novels. She was able to create this library after applying for and receiving a grant through the Princeton Education Fund.
Ms. Custer explained that when she designed the class, she wanted to make science engaging and accessible for all students, and that there is no better way to do so than by teaching forensics through projects and other hands-on activities. As you watch her students at work, it is clear that she has created a learning environment that fosters creativity and curiosity and truly brings science lessons to life. --Chloe Orr
- Princeton High School News