Miscellaneous » J-Term 2012 » J-Term


Forensics, Glee, and Korean Culture

The following article, written by Marlys Weaver, appeared in the Jan. 6 Elkhart Truth. Article with photos and video also online.

This week some Bethany Christian students are spending their days songwriting. Some others are discussing the Star Wars movies, building a theater set or making jewelry.

It's the time of the year when Bethany Christian middle and high students explore subjects, often not traditionally taught in school, in a two-week January-Term, which began last week.

Students in Calvin Swartzendruber's forensic science J-Term spent a part of Monday this week testing their blood as a part of learning about the science of crime scene investigations.

DNA testing can take weeks, but testing for blood type can help eliminate individuals from a suspect list, Swartzendruber told students before demonstrating the process.

Students each pricked a finger, producing a few drops of blood that they put on a form and, using a kit to test for certain antibodies, determined their blood type. Students could chose an alternative assignment if they chose.

Later in the day, the class was set to hear from Elkhart County Coroner John White and to also visit a local morgue. The class has listened to other professionals talk about their work in the field and Friday will visit the Marion County Forensic Science Unit.

“I like a lot of the science behind it,” Swartzendruber said about the class, “and the students are interested in it.” That may be the influence of “the CSI effect,” he said, referencing the popular crime shows.

Neel Bhagat, a freshman from Goshen, said the highlight of the class so far was a trip to Goshen College where they learned how to test wood from an arson to determine the kind of igniting fluid used.

Neel said he's interested in pursuing a medical career, which lines up somewhat with the activities and learning of the two weeks.

That class will finish next Tuesday with students collecting data at a replicated crime scene.

Several J-Term courses this year looked at the history and culture of different groups.

Isabel Rondo, an 8th-grader from Goshen, said she wanted to be in the J-Term course learning about Korean culture because of the Korean friends she has at Bethany.

Along with learning about the history and culture, students have been able to eat Korean food and try their hand at writing Korean calligraphy.

“We can write our names in Korean,” Isabel said.

This year, 12 students from South Korea are enrolled at Bethany through the Ssial House Corporation, a non-profit organization in Goshen that seeks to provide a hospitable environment for Korean middle and high school students attending area schools.

Sae Chan Lee is on staff with Ssial, which he said means “seed” in Korean, and is one of the teachers for the “South Korea in Goshen” J-Term.

Three students on winter break from their schools in South Korea are also visiting Goshen for the month and are spending the first two weeks learning more about American culture while Bethany students learn about their's.

“We thought it would be a good experience for both groups,” Lee said.

He said students have learned more about Korean connections in northern Indiana too, including with visits to a Korean restaurant and grocery store in Mishawaka.

Several J-Term courses give students the opportunity to develop performance or visual art skills.

A concert Friday night will top off the work of students in the “Glee” J-Term.

In the class, students learn music and some choreography to several pop songs, a genre less often taught in choral classes, said Nathan Swartzendruber, choral director. They're also learning about the physiological differences for the voice between performing pop or formal choral pieces, and will head to Chicago later this week to see a Broadway show and to perform their pieces on some street corners for the public.

The class is learning Coldplay's “Viva La Vida”, The Beatles' “Blackbird, Mika's “Happy Ending” and Journey's “Don't Stop Believin'” as arranged by the television show Glee, along with another song each for the separate girls ensemble and boys ensemble.