Webster school adds hands-on courses focusing on forensics, human body

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WEBSTER, S.D. February is National Career and Technical Education Month and some Webster students are celebrating in class. The high school set up a crime scene to learn about forensics after receiving a $43,000 Workforce Education Grant in 2016.

Webster Area High School students were introduced to Anna Garcia last month with a crime scene. They have to figure out how she died by analyzing different things throughout the semester.

"We've tested blood and to see if she was bleeding when she fell and now we're testing stomach content," Webster Area High School Junior Bryanna Lauen said.

Students from 10th grade to seniors are enjoying the unique approach to learning.

"I feel like it's so much easier to learn when you're doing stuff hands-on versus when someone's just telling you something and you write it down on a piece of paper, like you get to learn how everything works and the background behind everything," Senior Olivia Breske said.

Lauen said she enjoys having a chance to be a part of the process instead of "just sitting in a classroom and listening to your teacher because that gets boring."

Biology Teacher Jenna Sinner took two weeks out of her summer to get Project Lead The Way Certified and have a chance to teach the courses. Not only is there a forensics course, but there's one that studies the human bodies where students build their own mannequins.

She enjoys seeing how excited students get when they figure everything out on their own.

"It's awesome that our small school can offer these to her kids. You don't see Project Lead The Way in a lot of small schools, so our kids have a huge advantage," Sinner said.

These courses give some insight to students on possible new career paths.

Breske took both courses because of her interest in the medical field and really enjoyed the human body class, so she's ready to move into a physical therapy career.

"I don't know, there's too much blood and stuff being a forensic scientist, so I couldn't do this one," Breske said.

For Lauen, it's a different story and she's the different skills learned in the bio-medical sciences course.

"I wanted to go for nursing, but now, I've liked the stuff that we've done so far and this is something that I'm definitely considering thinking about because it's not your normal thing and I wouldn't have thought of doing it until doing it in this class," Lauen said.

Webster is one of 28 schools across South Dakota involved in Project Lead The Way.

If you want to follow along with the courses, make sure to visit the link to the right of the article. There's also a link to Project Lead The Way if you want more information on that.