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Forensics help make science cool


Many people fret these days about the state of science education in America and how kids just don’t like the topic — yet at New Rochelle High School in New York, one kind of science class has proved a runaway success, reports the New York Times: forensic science, the application of science to solving crimes. Since the program was started 15 years ago, demand has waxed so strong that today the school offers seven different forensic classes, three of them so advanced that the students receive college credits from Syracuse University. "Forensic science is our most popular elective, hands down," said Joyce Kent, head of the school’s science department. And though the forensic menu at New Rochelle is unusually extensive, schools everywhere are capitalizing on the subject’s appeal. According to an informal survey of 285 middle and high school teachers conducted in 2007 by the National Science Teachers Association, 75 percent replied yes when asked, "Do you or other teachers in your district use forensic investigation in the science classroom?" Forensic science wasn’t always an easy sell. When Kent started the New Rochelle program, nobody knew what it was. Now, it’s impossible to escape forensics on TV dramas, and student interest has soared accordingly…

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