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Engaging secondary school students in applied learning through forensic science using the WALES framework
Secondary School
Inquiry-based learning
Applied learning
Forensic science
Issue Date: 
Low, W. C., & Yow, Y. M. I. (2014). Engaging secondary school students in applied learning through forensic science using the WALES framework. In Y. -J. Lee, N. T -L. Lim, K. S. Tan, H. E. Chu, P. Y. Lim, Y. H. Lim, & I. Tan (Eds.), Proceedings of the International Science Education Conference 2014 (pp. 1097-1114). Singapore: National Institute of Education.
In this paper, we present details of a forensic science module conducted for 2 batches of
secondary three students in Singapore. We formulated the WALES (Workshops, Authentic
Leaming Tasks, Laboratory Experience, and Sharing by Practitioners) framework, a four-pronged
approach, to realise the goal of providing students with an applied learning
experience in forensic science. The first prong provides students with a comprehensive
understanding of key forensic science principles through workshops. The second prong
allows students to apply scientific principles that they have learnt in solve authentic
problems. The third prong equips students with practical skills through laboratory-based
activities. The final prong engages students with first-hand account of what it is like to be a
forensic scientist or a law enforcer through guest lectures from investigation agencies. The
course culminated in a simulated crime scene that gave students the opportunity to assume
the role of an investigator and work collaboratively with their teammates to solve a simulated
crime. At the end of the course, students were certified in-house junior forensic science
assistants. Students indicated in a post-module survey that they enjoyed the module and the
module has enabled them to learn beyond the confine of the syllabuses to acquire useful skills
and competencies. As a result, students developed greater interest in science and working
with science in an interdisciplinary context. Consequently, the module has inspired many to
explore the field of forensic science as future career option. In addition, the module has
enabled them to pursue their interest area and to develop 21st Century Competencies.
Appears in Collections:Conference Papers

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