Behind the Scenes: Forensics

Forensics+students+measuring+and+sketching+a+crime+scene+in+class.

Lauren Adams

Forensics students measuring and sketching a crime scene in class.

Described as a “challenging investigative course,” forensic science is a one of a kind class at BSM, only offered to seniors. This class covers a wide range of topics such as DNA reading, identifying fingerprints, and analyzing dead bodies. Let’s take a deeper dive into this course.

A science class based on crime and investigating comes off as an interesting and almost unusual science class to students. So how did this course all begin in the first place? Science teacher Bob Lyons and retired physics teacher Jim Wander thought a forensics based class would be a great addition to the BSM science department after noticing a common theme amongst students in the early 2000s. “Crime shows became really popular on TV and we noticed a lot of kids were interested in that kind of thing. We thought it would be kind of a fun course to teach,” Lyons said.

12th grade students are offered many different science classes senior year: forensics, ecology, and physics. Why should students choose forensics? “I think the first thing is forensic science is the perfect science because it combines biology, physics and chemistry all into one. It’s not your typical class where there’s lecture and note taking. It’s 100% experience based,” Lyons said.

The class is just super unique in the way that you get to deal with dead bodies. Not many classes where you get to do that,”

— Abby Lohmann

From a student’s view, the class is great because it is different from all the rest. “The class is just super unique in the way that you get to deal with dead bodies. Not many classes where you get to do that,” forensics student Abby Lohmann said.

Seniors students who decided to enroll in this course are happy with their decision. “ I love it. I look forward to going to it. I think it’s very engaging and very interesting, and I think it is a great class,” senior Annie Juckniess said.

Not only is the class thrilling to students, but the teacher is as well. Lyons, better known as “Bio Bob,” is a well loved teacher at BSM and is also the only forensics teacher at the school. “Well, you really never know what you’re gonna get with Bio Bob. He has so many interesting stories from his life as a forensics teacher that he keeps class fun and entertaining every day,” Lohmann said.

Although this class is currently only offered up to seniors, that may possibly change in the future years due to the science curriculum changing for freshmen. “Now that kids will be finishing chemistry their sophomore year, and they’ll be taking physics junior year, that could open up an opportunity for younger students to take the class as well. I’m anticipating seniors and juniors being able to take it in the future and there is some talk down the road of maybe even sophomores so we’ll see,” Lyons said.

Seniors currently taking the class however think that it should remain a senior only class. “I think that the underclassmen should actually go through some of the more core science classes like physics, chemistry and biology first, and then they get to the fun stuff. It’s also kind of a privilege for the seniors to get,” senior forensics student Diego Adair said.

When choosing courses for the upcoming year, forensics tends to be commonly recommended to upcoming seniors. “My brother and his friends took it when they were seniors, and they said they really loved it and I’ve heard really good things from other grades, so I wanted to take it,” Juckniess said.

Another main attraction to this class is the experimental style layout rather than multiple tests throughout the year to assess the students. “I would say the course is primarily lab based. There’ll be a little bit of content during the unit, but most of the time it’s going to be then taking that content and you know performing some activity or lab. Tests are not the priority. The kids get assessed basically on how they perform a specific skill,” Lyons said.

Students like the format of the assessments in this class and feel that they are able to apply what they learn in real world situations. “I like how experiments are the focus instead of taking a test so you can actually use the skills you are learning in real life instead of just answering questions on paper,” Adair said.

I like how experiments are the focus instead of taking a test so you can actually use the skills you are learning in real life instead of just answering questions on paper,”

— Diego Adair

On an average day in forensics, the class consists of lots of stories from Bio Bob, some crime investigations, and activities. “We walk in, we work on what we’re working on, right now that’s crime scene sketches. So he lays out like a fake crime scene around the room and we have to measure everything and like, sketch the room, and label all the evidence and stuff,” Adair said.

Overall, this class is very distinctive because of the curriculum, but made unique because of Mr. Lyons’s teaching style. Seniors from the class of 2023 have recommended this course to up and coming science students in the future.