Popular Science?

Popular Science?

Maggots and putrid odors don't prevent high school students from swarming to Forensic Science classes, a surprisingly alluring elective in the CSI era. (NYT)

To simulate a decomposing body, Forensic Science teacher Scott Rubins leaves a dead chicken outside for a couple of days. By the time he presents it to his high school class in New Rochelle, NY, it’s crawling with maggots of different stages.

“I have cool stuff to show you,” Rubins tells his class. He warns them not to react or worry about the putrid smell. If you react, he says, you don’t learn.

Driven by Americans’ fascination with dramas and reality shows about police work and crime scenes, there is a high demand for Forensic Science classes all over the country. New Rochelle High School offers seven classes in Forensics each day and the students say they love it. Indeed, it is the school’s most popular elective.

The top-rated television dramas often get things wrong, students say. They point out mistakes such as failing to wear gloves or improper bagging of evidence. In class, that could earn them a failing grade.

Ultimately the goal of the class is to teach the kids how to think and process information, according to Rubins. It’s just another way to learn science.

CHANNEL: New York Times

Length: 3:57

By David Frank & Natalie Angier