Fresh Science at CVCHS
It’s course selection season and CVCHS recently conducted an elective fair, in part commemorating the addition of “Forensics” to the CVCHS curriculum.
Forensics was added into the CVCHS curriculum as recently as 2022. Amanda Wilson, the AP Chemistry teacher going on three years, proposed the course seven years ago when she started teaching at CVCHS due to her degree in forensic chemistry. Former director Jamie Keith took up Wilson on her seven year-old offer last year and it was prepared for A-G approval.
“As a teacher, the new class has been a bit more chaotic than my other courses,” said Wilson, “but it has been fun to have students impact the course and to develop a class that they enjoy.”
Forensics asks students to approach the intersection of various scientific disciplines. Course topics range from firearms and ballistics to blood and blood spatter, connecting physics, biology, and chemistry.
Wilson described the following examples, saying, “A basic understanding of DNA and DNA replication (from biology) is necessary to understand DNA profiling; a basic understanding of isotopes (from chemistry) is needed to understand how hair can be analyzed for various toxins; and a basic understanding of motion (from physics and math) is needed to understand how blood drops will be different shapes and sizes based on height and angle of impact.”
Elias Salfiti, a junior in the class, recalled that “we immediately got the application of our knowledge in labs as soon as the first semester began.”
Forensics is a crime drama darling, and Wilson acknowledged that “most students have some prior knowledge (from TV shows) and prior interest in the topic as a whole.” The course, however, explains the breadth of the field and grounds the capabilities of forensic analysis.
Ruairi Murphy, a junior in the class, explained that he liked “how we interacted with the stuff we were taught and how we weren’t just hammered with tests and quizzes.”
“So far, students have been enjoying the course!” Wilson found. The word of mouth on the subject will be clarified in upcoming spring course selection.