News 05.19.08

Exonerations in the classroom

Last month we launched our new “

947 Years

” website and video, focusing on the serious effect that wrongful convictions have on young people and the unique opportunity that young Americans have to change the system. The response to the campaign has been inspiring – hundreds of students around the world are studying the causes of wrongful convictions and the cases of exonerated people – and presenting their findings to their classes. People are showing and sharing

video interviews with exonerees

. Hundreds of people have joined the conversation on our

Facebook

and

MySpace

pages.

One of the most exciting developments we’ve seen of late has been high school teachers incorporating DNA testing and exonerations into lesson plans – bringing biology class to life through forensic science and the law. One biology teacher, Diane Wagers in Jacksonville, Florida, points her high school students to the Innocence Project website and invites them to choose an exoneration to study. They create their own Powerpoint presentations on their case and explain to classmates both how the injustice happened and how the exoneree was freed.

Wagers and her class are profiled in this month’s issue of Edutopia Magazine:

Wagers makes the project part of her biology curriculum because she believes connecting science concepts to life outside of the classroom is essential to good teaching.

"Biology is the study of life, and when students look at these issues of wrongful conviction, it comes alive for them," she explains. "It helps them remember what they've learned, because they see it is real."

Student Britney Schank agrees. "In every other class, you just learn about DNA, its structure, how it's built, and all the boring stuff," Shank says. The DNA-testing project, however, showed her more: "I saw how DNA affects people's lives and how it comes into play."


Read the full story here

. (Edutopia, 05/05/08) 

We invite students and teachers to use the resources on our site to get creative with lessons and class projects.

Get started here to build a presentation

.

To share your presentation with us or to arrange for a guest speaker to come to your school,

email us

.

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