Friday, June 28, 2002

The teachers' introduction to police scientific work yesterday included shooting weapons. Virginia Santomauro, right, of Campbell High School, and Gail Tuthill of Iolani School examined the holes left by different handguns and shotguns.

Crime class

Teachers become HPD students
to enhance science lessons

By Nelson Daranciang

For their final exam last semester, students in Joye Hanabusa's biology class at Nanakuli High School were required to apply what they learned to solve a crime.

"I had a victim that was a pig. We gave him a name. And I had him stabbed in certain parts. They had to figure out which one was the fatal wound and link it to other evidence," Hanabusa said.

When she returns to school in the fall, Hanabusa feels she will be able to make her mock crimes more realistic by applying what she learned this week in the Honolulu Police Department's Forensics for Teachers class.

Hanabusa is one of 12 intermediate and high school science teachers from public and private schools on Maui and Oahu who are graduating from the course today.

The one-week program gave the teachers a hands-on education on some jobs performed by HPD criminologists. The teachers were taught how to analyze firearm ballistics, trace evidence, forged documents, blood and DNA samples. Forty teachers applied for the class, which had been offered to high school students as a two-week mentorship course.

The HPD's Scientific Investigations Section conducts the course for teachers in the hope that they will apply what they learned in the classroom to get their students excited about science, said HPD Criminologist Mary Sullivan, course coordinator. The course gives the teachers examples of ways they can teach science through practical application, said Bob Donaldson, Kailua Intermediate School science teacher.

"We can test for blood in the school. We can do castings of footprints or take fingerprints," he said.

Iolani School teacher Dena Ono said she signed up for the course to be able to keep up with her students on topics like DNA which are being popularized by television crime shows like "CSI."

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