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Bob Jones biomed class investigates hypothetical overdose

Published 11:55am Sunday, January 27, 2013

A textbook, hypothetical case of drug overdose led students to explore real-world answers in a Bob Jones High School class.

Students in the principles of biomedical science class compiled several pieces of data to develop toxicology reports. “We have a ‘dead patient’ (Anna Garcia) and are trying to figure out what’s going on. She had pills when we found her body,” teacher Melinda Lawson said.

Students ran experiments to identity substances on the body and analyze other clues. Lawson spoke on camera for “Principal’s Corner,” Bob Jones Principal Robby Parker’s video blog.

“The biomed class exemplifies cross-curricular study, because students are applying every subject they have taken,” Lawson said.

Parker questioned two students weighing white powder at a set of scales. “We’re weighing the substances at .5 grams. Once at the desired weight, we try different indicators and see how they react. If they react the same way, they probably match what is in Anna Garcia’s system,” they said.

Parker emphasized that “there can be no guess” when technicians create a toxicology report that goes to the media or the family of the deceased.

At one lab table, students were applying a dye to different substances. “We have different substances that are common at crime scenes. The dye tells which indicators match up between the different substances to tell what substance the deceased person had,” the students said.

Parker moved to another group documenting their findings. “Each person is notating the appearance, texture and reaction of the indicators. Then they draw a conclusion,” Parker said.

At a microscope, students examined hair samples to identify a crime suspect. “Hair is unique,” one biomed student said. “Each hair only belongs to you.” Another group at laptops were “analyzing for the blood spatters at the crime scene. We’re going to design an experiment to help us analyze it better,” they said.

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