Jonesboro high school students learn about forensic analysis

JONESBORO, Ark. (AP) — Jonesboro High School senior Alyssa Hale is grateful she is getting the opportunity to dissect a pig.

"I like that we are able to do more hands-on and do more dissections," she told The Jonesboro Sun. "Ms. Crawford says it is good to know how to do this before we get to college, because we are going to be expected to know how to do this."

Hale has plans to be a veterinarian.

Biomedical sciences teacher Caroline Crawford said students have been learning about doing a forensic autopsy.

"They have to take out all the organs, measure them, calculate the mass and length and then put the organs back and suture the pigs up," she said.

Students will be required to complete paperwork at the end of the lesson. "They will actually do a forensics autopsy report on the pig."

All of this is taking place in the school's newest addition to the curriculum at the Health and Human Sciences Academy, called Medical Innovations class.

"This is part of Project Lead The Way," Crawford said. "There are four classes and this one is the capstone."

Students have the potential to earn up to 12 college credit hours if they pass their end-of-course, Crawford said, noting "these are college level classes."

Senior Amayrani Garcia said it was the addition of the Medical Innovations class that helped her to realize the career she wants to pursue — the medical field.

"I have not had anyone influence me to be a surgeon," she said. "This class has helped influence my career path. We are learning about whole body systems, and learning about the organs and where they are."

Garcia said she enjoys the hands-on aspects of medicine more than just going in and diagnosing someone.

Only seniors are in the new class. There are three other classes students have to take prior to being able to take the new class.

Crawford said the first class is called Principles of Biomedical Sciences, based on a fictional character called Anna Garcia, and students have to figure out how she died, Crawford said, noting they have the entire year.

"We set up a crime scene, and students take pictures, forensic analysis and do blood splatters," she said. "At the end of the class, they have to figure out how she died."

No other school in Northeast Arkansas offers Project Lead The Way Biomedical, and only eight schools teach PLTW with Biomedical in the state, Garcia said.

The school also allows students to do job shadowing with the local professionals.

"Students do some internships from 8 to 9:50 a.m., three days a week," Garcia said. "They work at veterinarian offices, hospitals and even a rheumatologist."

Students will be participating in another lesson after the forensic autopsy.

"Our next one is water," she said. "We will run tests on water samples and learn how to determine if there is fecal matter in the water."

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Information from: The Jonesboro Sun, http://www.jonesborosun.com

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