Julia DollEDWARDSVILLE - Crime Scene Investigation has become extremely popular because of various television shows and movies in recent years.

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Edwardsville High School this week created its own Crime Scene Investigation Lab in a multi-day project to provide experiences for students in the various components of the process.

EHS Advanced Placement biology instructor Julia Doll said she has been teaching in this role for 12 years and the CSI Lab has been done each of those years.

“We set up our own CSI and teach the students about forensics and the journalism part of the crime investigation, then eventually we take samples and do labs,” she said. “We run DNA in jells. This year we have about 140 students participating. We do this with juniors and seniors.”

Amanda Thrun leads the EHS journalism students in the investigation. John Arendell, a student resource officer, also serves as a resource during the investigation to explain different parts of the process.

The CSI Lab includes a cooperative effort of the Science Department, along with Theater Arts III, Journalism, School Resource Officers, and sometimes students from the Medical Occupations Class.

Each group of students has a designated role:

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The Theater Arts III (Drama) students for make-up, scene set-up and of course, our "dead" body or bodies (depending on the scene for that year). 

Journalism students are also brought in for their assignment of investigative journalism. They act as the reporters for the scene. Then, they are required to complete a follow-up assignment for their class.  The journalism students coordinate the back-story with SRO officers. One of them is our "officer on scene" or "first responder." He tells them any information known at the time.

Students are required to spend multiple hours in a lab setting where are split into numerous groups such as DNA, Gel, Stain, Fingerprints, Blood Spatter, Footprints, Hair, PR, etc. More information is given to them so they can continue trying figure out who committed the crime and what actually happened.

Journalism students also expect a press conference with PR groups. Because so many students take AP Biology and Honors Biology II, EHS splits the day into 2-3-hour labs.

Generally, there are anywhere from 60-80 students working at the same time. The students are broken up into a chain of command very similar to a real-world lab. They will eventually complete DNA electrophoresis. Students then discuss the information and graph their data. By the end, hopefully they have done their job so the criminal can be tried successfully.

The results of the CSI experience are supposed to be released on Monday to the students.

Makeup artists play a big role in the Edwardsville CSI.

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