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Mock Crime Scene Analysis Brings Forensics to Life for Students at SHHS

Long one of the hottest shows on television, a new season of CSI debuted this fall right here at SHHS.  No, not the actual TV series, but a lesson in Mr. Hanuschak’s SUPA Forensics class. The mock crime scene, created in the SHHS courtyard, was complete with shell casings, faux drugs and money, and even a bloodied victim. SUPA Forensics is a dual-enrollment course that allows students to take a freshman college level course class that earns them credits through Syracuse University.


Students observed and then created detailed sketches of the mock crime scene - and from these began analyzing, making inferences based on clues and plans for next steps to the investigation. 

“You are the investigator,” Mr. Hanuschak reminded the students. “You have limited time and a limited budget, and the scene provides a snapshot of how things were left. Your job as forensics investigators is to figure out where to go from here with your investigation.”


After sharing their observations and discussing possible scenarios and sequences of events that might have led to the crime, students were joined by Tarrytown Police Officer McGuire. He walked them through the scene, suggesting initial inferences he could make based on his experienced eye. He then discussed resources available to the police to further the investigation beyond the immediate crime scene such as seeking witnesses to interview, reviewing camera footage that may have captured more clues, and how to best search for additional evidence. Officer McGuire also explained that, just like anything else in life, to approach the investigation without preconceived notions and to avoid one-dimensional thinking.


“I was very impressed with what a thoughtful approach the students took,” said Officer McGuire. “They took their time considering all of the information and didn’t jump to conclusions.” 


Students were engrossed during the mock crime scene and while participating in the analysis. Officer McGuire and Mr. Hanuschak stressed to the students how crucial the first 48 hours are when investigating a crime. 


SUPA Forensics is an interdisciplinary course, teaching concepts in earth science, biology, chemistry and physics which would be used to analyze evidence. To date one of their favorite activities was analyzing fingerprint patterns, they coordinated this with the FBI 10 most wanted case in which a single fingerprint on the bicycle was the only major individualizing item of evidence.


Many of the students taking Mr Hanuschak’s SUPA Forensics class have shared that they have been intrigued by forensic science and its many related career opportunities.  “I endeavor to provide students with a positive and affirming learning environment in which it is okay to ask questions, make mistakes, and offer me feedback,” said Mr. Hanuschak. “I also think the hands-on experience they get in this class enhances their interest.”