Education Majors Host 'Whodunit' STEM Study for Local Fourth Graders

April 29, 2016

When reptiles went missing from their lab, the scientists called in the best junior detectives they knew -- fourth graders from Sequoyah Elementary School in Shawnee.

OBU education majors hosted the junior detectives during a special event called “Whodunit: A Forensic STEM Study.” The mystery unraveled Thursday, April 28, on the OBU campus in Shawnee.

Dr. Jeanne Akin, Mary A. White Professor of Education and senior detective for the day, said she feels strongly about preparing her students to be comfortable teaching STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). She said the STEM program also helps with skills such as problem solving and critical thinking.

“This was part of an original unit that students Hannah Jett, Taylor Tinker and Autumn Urton wrote for a class,” Akin said. “We decided that was such a stellar unit that we should put it on for the kids.”

The education majors posed as scientists and set up several different stations for the elementary students to visit and learn more about certain aspects of science and forensics. Throughout the day, the Sequoyah students traveled between the various stations and learned about crime scene investigation and evidence collecting; taking footprints and fingerprints; and forensic engineers and reconstructing crime scenes.

The OBU class collaborated with the regional STEM initiative, whose partners include Gordon Cooper Technology Center and other business and industries throughout Shawnee and surrounding areas.

OBU education majors who planned and worked the event included creators Hannah Jett, Taylor Tinker and Autumn Urton, with the help of classmates Amanda Cheatwood, McKenzie Crawford, Allison Everett, Katelyn Fasig, Tiara Guidice, Kayla Gregory, Morgan Groves, Ann Marie McAnelly, Taylor Melton, Kerianne Peterson, Skylar Phillips, Ashley Rogers and Taylar Ziegler.