Falcon High School students in Jordan Tunney’s Street Law class got to put on their detective hats and investigate a fictional cold case.
It was a lesson in more than “just the facts.”
For the unit on Criminal Justice, the students worked in teams to determine how evidence and testimony could exonerate a wrongfully-accused individual and lead them to the culprit. Communication and teamwork were essential as the investigators cracked the case and put the real "killer" behind bars.
“Students were tasked with being critical of physical evidence, written testimony, and supporting facts that in the simulation led to the wrongful conviction of one and the true criminal to remain free,” Tunney said.
Students were divided into two teams to share similar resources; one group had arrest records, crime scene photos, fingerprints, autopsy report while the other was provided with Person of Interest information of potential suspects. They had to write and communicate what they found since they could not hand evidence across from one group to the other.
“Students had to not just think ‘this guy sounds guilty’ or ‘this alibi is air-tight’ but had to consider ‘why might this person lie’ or ‘does this statement have any support with evidence?’” Tunney said. “Reasoning and abstract thought can be pivotal in a criminal or civil litigation, but I connected their thought process to other academic pursuits, such as weighing textual evidence or primary vs. secondary source support in Social Studies and the weight of evidence in the Scientific Method.”