They were fantabulously wonderful! Grumpy Old Teacher (GOT) received permission to share pictures and will insert a few below.

The Forensic Science teacher came up with a project for students to build gingerbread houses in which they could demonstrate everything they had learned across the Fall semester.

How do police forensic technicians and experts process a crime scene? How do they gather evidence? What are those little number markers used for? Why do they use the crime scene tape? What goes into a crime scene report? How strong a stomach do they need for such work?

Yeah, you could give a multiple-choice test, run the bubble sheets (Scantrons for insiders) through the machine, tap a few numbers into the online grade book, and call it a day. Quite boring for students whose response might be ‘O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree! How I love to bubble ye!’

If you’re not laughing, you need to make the acquaintance of public school teachers.

Or, you could design a project that jaded teenagers could get excited about and throw themselves into.

That’s what happened when a science teacher at Grumpy Old Teacher’s (GOT) school decided to do something original. The students were to build gingerbread houses (very appropriate for the Christmas season) that a crime took place in or around, They had to create a scene that showed the police technician processing, take pictures, and write up a crime scene report for the teacher to grade.

Amazing work! As the teacher works through the projects, pictures, and reports, she gathers a much better understanding of what each student actually learned across 18 weeks (4 and a half months) than what a standardized test can deliver.

The students have a more accurate and discerning evaluation of their work. The feedback the teacher will give will be priceless.

A standardized test cannot do this. Why do we insist upon such nonsense? Short answer, because the politicians have convinced the public that teachers cannot be trusted for reasons that involve building politicians’ power and wealth.

So much more to say, but sometimes less is more. You get the point.

SWAT team if you’re wondering about the toy soldiers.

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