RMS students investigate Prince Charming’s murder
Prince Charming had a tough week at Rifle Middle School last week.Just before the Thanksgiving holiday, he attended a party hosted by the three little pigs. After an evening of frolicking and frivolity, it was at the gala that the Prince met his untimely demise in Never Never Land.Investigating the Prince’s tragic, if not melodramatic, ending was a crack team of crime-scene investigators from Rifle Middle School’s seventh-grade class. The seventh-graders spent the two days prior to Thanksgiving break in a completely integrated unit investigating the faux murder.Seventh-grade science teacher Joyce Wizer has used forensics in her classes for years, but this is the first time that she has tackled a mystery that included her peers in literacy, math and social studies.”This lesson is completely cross curricular,” explained Wizer. “First, it hits many of the seventh-grade science standards, specifically standards one, two, three, five and seven. Next, it’s a giant reading test. If you don’t read the material carefully, you will lose clues. Finally, it integrates many of the logic skills needed in math. If you are not methodical and rigorous in your thought process, you will lose clues.”Students spent two days poring over evidence, the crime scene, and interviewing potential suspects, which included Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Little Red Riding Hood (all played by Rifle Middle School staff). They analyzed DNA, fingerprints and ink samples using a variety of experiments. One enterprising student measured shoe sizes to match them with a partial footprint found at the scene of the crime.Murder mysteries were incorporated into everyday reading components, and after all of the evidence was analyzed, students wrote a warrant for the arrest of the suspected murderer.”The kids love it,”said Wizer. “Like with any good lesson, the setup time is intense, but then we have just been able to sit back and watch the students. They have been totally engaged, and they are so serious.””It’s a different way to learn,” said seventh-grader Katie Armstrong after thoroughly investigating the scene of the crime.”There is math involved, but we can’t really tell because it is so fun,” added Allora Kubiak. On Tuesday afternoon, students watched a brief movie put together by science teacher Jamie Burwell, depicting the crime taking place, and the culprits were revealed. The three little pigs had tag-teamed to send the poor prince to his tragic end.Math teacher Audrey Barrett explained that these types of units help students understand the world outside of the school building.”They keep the kids in touch with education outside of just walking into a room and opening a book,” she explained. “The teamwork and cooperation among the kids has been amazing to watch. This type of unit is just a different approach to the same kind of material, but with a flair that keeps kids interested.”Exceptional bus studentsExceptional bus students for the month of October were Celeste Tovar from Wamsley Elementary, Gail Combs’ route No. 15; Anthony Jones from Rifle Middle School, Samantha Silvius’ route No. 10; and Ryan Flaherty from Coal Ridge High School, Jodie Steggall’s route No. 14. Also nominated from Coal Ridge – Logan Bagley, Chris Boynton, and Juan Rodriguez; from Highland Elementary – Abigail Bernat, Micayla Rhoades, Bailey Stephens, Bailey Shuster and Lily Workman; from Kathryn Senor – Ashley Burts, Bailey Davis, Ember Jackson, Heath Korinek, and Brianna Shaner; from Rifle High – Brooke Gugin, Dusty Herwick, Gerardo Nunez and Cody Twamley; from Rifle Middle School – Eduardo Alvarado, Hannah Bernat, Karla Chavez, Michelle Golden, Mariam Hernandez, Shantel Leyba, Matti Long, Monica Lopez, Jesus Marin, Evan Martinez, Angel Olivas, Jairo Ortega, Danielle Pyle, Vanessa Pittman, Joshua Ramirez, Yesenia Rosales, Crystal Ruiz, Craig Spaulding and Alexandria Thate; from Riverside Middle School – Lydia Claussen, Rehea Diedrich, Marshal Harmon, Ana Hernandez, Nick Kneedler, Chelyn McCain, Amanda McCray, Guadalupe Ochoa, and NayLynn Valencia; from Roy Moore Elementary – Samuel Diedrich, Conner Flaherty, Francisco Lopez and Lane McCray; and from Wamsley Elementary – Kara Salmon.Theresa Hamilton is director of districtwide services for Garfield School District Re-2. She can be reached at 625-7621.
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