About 300 students who volunteered to be in the Special Topics Exploring Mathematics program at Philip O. Berry Academy of Technology not only got an elective math credit this summer, they got a chance to work on real-life scientific puzzles.
In the program, students used math to analyze skeletal remains in a mysterious death. Exploring Mathematics gives rising ninth-graders a chance to participate in a transition program that prepares them for success in algebra.
Students spent weeks learning math equations and techniques, then applied that to real-life situations -- such as estimating time of death by examining the bladder and using formulas. The recent interest in forensics among young people, boosted by movies and TV shows such as CSI and Bones, made the program a hit.
It was a total surprise that we got to work on the crime scene, said Caelei Brown, a rising freshman at Rocky River High. The project is so interesting and different from anything we do during the school year.
The crime scene scenario is a brief introduction to education using Common Core. Students also participated in a healthy living project for which they track how far they walk, analyze the data and make adjustments to improve team goals.