In order to teach students more about the judicial system and how investigating crime scenes works, New Ellenton Middle School in South Carolina hosted its first school-wide project as a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, mathematics) magnet school. Within this program, students were able to receive a curriculum focused on science, technology, engineering, arts, and math.
Students in grades fifth through seventh hosted a fake court room to crack the case of the mysterious fall of Larry Cunningham, a fictitious maintenance man working for the school district who fell from a ladder. The students met to discuss evidence and to either eliminate or incriminate suspects in hopes of solving the case.
With the project, the students were able to be a part of every concept and touch on each aspect of STEAM. The students used skills they learned in their English, art, math, and social studies classes to draw on critical thinking skills and think the case through entirely.
At the end of the two-week program, the students gathered in their courtroom with New Ellenton City Council member Ron Reynolds, who dressed the part with a black robe and white wig.
After a tense day in court and going over all the evidence they had, the students revealed a video that showed one of the students accidentally catching her backpack on Cunningham’s ladder, resulting in his fall. Mystery solved!