Eastside High School students help fourth graders during Forensics Day

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB)-- Eastside High School students assisted a group of fourth graders from Lake Forest Elementary school to solve The Case of the Stolen Cookies for Forensics Day.

"Learning beyond the classroom, project-based learning, hands-on, seeing the world around you and applying it beyond the classroom is the way to teach our kids science," Eastside High School forensics teacher Adrienne Thieke said.

They students learned techniques like finger-print lifting, handwriting analysis, and blood typing.

"It puts an onus beyond the classroom, beyond the grade," Thieke said. "It became something for themselves and they took a much greater interest in learning it."

After lunch, the staff told students that they will have cookies for dessert. But then, they found out that the cookies had been stolen, kicking off a student-led investigation, where they got to spend the rest of the day figuring out who the suspect was.

Determining that principal Shane Andrew was the culprit, but that he was not guilty of theft.

"We decided it should be a mistaken identity of a theft and that it was going to be set up as if he stole the cookies," Thieke said. "But in fact, he was keeping them for safekeeping in his office. He wrote a note and the note is ripped partially off the door so it looks like a ransom note instead of a note telling us where the cookies were. It was a way to have a crime without having a crime."

Eastside High School junior Emanuel J. Fort enjoyed teaching the fourth graders on what he learned during forensics class.

"For these kids to learn this already ahead of time so when they do get out of high school, they already know it all," Fort said. "Today to learn stuff like this, it was a great thing to do."

Students walked throughout the campus to gather evidence and collect data.

"We work as teams," Thieke said. "Scientists always work as teams because you can not be just one person on this big staff."

Forensics Day was supported through a Catalyst For Change grant provided by The Education Foundation.