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CSI class huge success at Courtenay secondary school

Vanier Secondary School's class of 'who done it' was a big success, according to students, teachers and school district 71 administration.

Students in Vanier Secondary School's CSI 11 course just finished watching student-made videos based on the popular television show CSI on Monday.

"It went really well," said chemistry 11 teacher Crystal Gaudry. "The projects that we got absolutely exceeded our expectations."

Taught by Gaudry and English 11 teacher Megan Haut, the CSI course is a combination of English and chemistry 11. Students still learn all of the required skills in the regular courses, but the chemistry course centres around forensics and the English course centres around the mystery genre.

Then, for their final project, students pretended to investigate who killed the principal using forensic evidence left at the scene.

"It was a really interesting project," said Vanier CSI 11 student Jessica Fitzgerald. "It was more fun (than traditional English and chemistry courses) because you work in two classes with the same kids, and the kids in the class were always fun."

Gaudry said she believes students learned more skills than the traditional two classes, pointing out that the course was more than how to analyze a crime scene.

"It was can you manage your time, can you split up the jobs, what are you best at, maybe one of your partners is really good at something, so maybe let them take the lead on it, so there's a lot of other skills that come into play," said Gaudry.

School District 71 superintendent Sherry Elwood also said the course was a success, and brought it up a Tuesday's school board meeting as an example of how hands-on learning works well.

"It speaks to learning that happens for students when they're involved and when it's hands-on in many ways, or when they understand the relevancy of what they're learning," said Elwood. "It is engaging for them, they are excited about it, they're having fun."

She added that the course will be offered again, and said she hopes to implement more courses like this one.

Gaudry said that next time they will probably switch up the storyline a bit, but noted that the course takes more preparation time than the traditional classes she teaches.

Students from this semester's class will provide feedback to the teachers so they can tweak the course.

Fitzgerald knows what she will suggest.

"Blood analysis would have been quite cool," she said enthusiastically.

Visit www.comoxvalleyrecord.com to see clips from one of the student videos.

writer@comoxvalleyrecord.com

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