Contest winner brings document camera to Hillcrest Intermediate School classroom
Analyzing blood-splatter and handwriting patterns will challenge gifted students to unravel murder mysteries in a new class focusing on science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, skills.
The students at Hillcrest Intermediate School will use a new document camera, won by their teacher, to transport them from their desks to mock crime scenes. The camera will give students the ability to zoom into ridge details on fingerprint smears, among many creative ideas teacher Paula Giran plans to introduce.
“I'm so excited,” Giran said. “Let us jump head first into this.”
Giran, gifted coordinator for the fifth- and sixth-graders at Hillcrest, entered a nationwide contest to win an Epson document camera for her STEM class. Her idea to bring mock crime scenes to the classroom was one of just four entries selected out of more than 1,000.
Giran heard about the contest through an educator's email list and thought the camera would be perfect to integrate into the STEM course she's leading this year.
At almost $900, the camera probably wouldn't be part of her class without the contest, Giran said.
The camera takes still pictures and streams live video. It probably will be used on a daily basis, she said.
“I think it's important that we put kids out there in the real world to be problem solvers,” she said. “All of this STEM stuff is letting them be their own investigators. Those are lifelong skills no matter what field they go into.”
The forensic-science unit will be joined by others Giran is teaching, including inventor and engineering units.
All of the units will challenge students to progress their inquiry-based skills, she said.
Her other ideas include placing a chicken carcass outside to show students how to determine a time of death based on what insects are attracted.
She also wants to use the document camera to take still photos of body parts on the class pets, Madagascar hissing cockroaches, for the forensic entomology unit. Because the insect is so small — only about 2 inches — the camera's zoom ability will give students close-up views of the antennae and other body parts.
Mike Mignogna, president for the district's chapter of the Pennsylvania Association of Gifted Education, said he was impressed with Giran's creative ideas.
“It's important to get them thinking and using their imagination to figure out and understand how things work,” he said. “I want kids to learn that using your brain is cool, and it's going to take you a lot further if you get involved.”
Amanda Dolasinski is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8626, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Husband of accused drug-dealing teacher faces his own drug, intimidation charges
- Company to conduct North Irwin apartment inspections
- Norwin High School health teacher charged with selling heroin
- Icy winter kept Norwin area road crews busy, but not as much as previous one
- North Huntingdon commissioners decline to take over Colonial Manor Road
- State-level uncertainty clouds Norwin budget work
- North Huntingdon’s Lincoln Way slated for paving
- Irwin woman pens book for transition to kindergarten
- Janitor gets $72,500 in Norwin settlement
- Natural causes cited in North Huntingdon motel death
- North Huntingdon announces snowman winners