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CSI: Dobbs Ferry

Dobbs Ferry High School forensics students play crime scene investigators in NYC with help from Schools Foundation Grant.

Around 50 forensics students went to New York City on Thursday to take part in 'CSI:The Experience,' an interactive exhibit in Times Square that lets participants play the roles of characters on the hit TV series 'CSI.' 

"There was a crime scene and we had to analyze it and solve it," said senior Lauren Fleming. "You had to look at all the parts and give a report at the end."

Dobbs Ferry science teacher Justine Henry heard about the exhibit—which runs from Oct., 2011 through March, 2012—and thought it would be good enrichment for her forensics students.

Entrance, with a group rate, was $15 per student, and with the help of the Dobbs Ferry Schools Foundation, Henry was able to secure funds for all 51 students to attend.

"The foundation has streamlined the process for getting grants," Henry said, explaining that she was assigned a "grant shepherd," or member of the foundation who walked her through the process.

"I've applied for grants in the past, and it's definitely less bureaucratic now—less labor-intensive."

Talking to Henry's students, the Foundation's donation seems like it was money well spent.

"It was all very computerized—there were lots of touch-screen computers," said Sara Leeds. "It was pretty easy to solve, but still a lot of fun."

"It was easy because we teach them so well," interjected science teaching assistant Marc Richter. "The hands-on experience was something we couldn't create here in the classroom. It was definitely worth it."

And, of course, the brand recognition of "CSI" didn't hurt.

"It was fun to sit in Grissom's office," said Sylvana Hardesty.

"The kids all identify with 'CSI,' which made it exciting—while at the same time we felt like they were accomplishing something," Henry said.

There are three sections of forensic science at Dobbs Ferry High School this year; Henry teaches two. About half the senior class takes the course every year.

"Forensics is great for seniors because it combines parts of all the other sciences they've taken in the past," Henry said. "There's biology with DNA analysis, chemistry with toxicology. They even use physics when they analyze the trajectories of bullets."

"We know of a number of kids who have gone one to study criminology in college after taking this course," Richter said.

After winter break, the students will start a unit on forensic psychology, analyzing the profiles and psyches of serial killers.

"No, we won't let them watch 'Dexter' in class," Henry said. "They keep asking; but that's definitely not appropriate."

Learn more about 'CSI: The Experience' here.

Learn more about the Dobbs Ferry Schools Foundation here.

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