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Aug 29, 2012 6:38 AM by Angela Douglas - Q2 News

Science classroom becomes 'crime scene' at Career Center in Billings

BILLINGS - Prime time television shows like CSI: Miami capture the attention of viewers every single season, but believe it or not these shows are also shaping how and what our kids are learning in the classroom.

"Shows with a lot of pathology involved, I think that's what drove the interest of the kids toward classes like this," said Billings Career Center science teacher Christine Simonsen.

The class that Simonsen is referring to is the Principles of Biomedical Science. It's brand new at the Career Center this year and it requires students to think in a different way.

"We had a death here in room 10 at the Career Center. I arrived around 7:20 this morning and I found the late Ana Garcia up there near the ladder," Simonsen announced to her class of sophomores and juniors Tuesday morning. "And it's up to you guys to figure out what led to the demise of Ana Garcia."

Typically, room #10 at the Career Center is a normal classroom, but on Tuesday it transformed into a crime scene.

"There's eight units that we study all year long related to human health care and this is a way to get the kids interested right off the bat," Simonsen stated.

And that approach worked.

"I was shocked, I didn't really know what to expect," admitted sophomore Ronni Madigan. "I've never done something like this so it's kind of cool to do. Very different."

Groupmate Cierra Hanson agreed.

"You get to explore all the different levels of medicine," said the high school junior. "That way you know if you actually want to go into that."

Taking interest in a possible career, while developing a higher level of critical thinking skills and the ability to work with others, is what Simonsen hopes her students will learn from this class.

As for what caused the death of Ana Garcia?

That remains unclear for the time being. However, with the clues they gathered at the crime scene, combined with the information they'll learn throughout the next few months, the Billings sophomores and juniors will have the cause of death determined by the end of the semester.

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