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High school students crunch numbers with blood spatter

THUNDER BAY -- As a high school student, Michael Sweitzer never thought he'd find a use for trigonometry.
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Thunder Bay Police Service Det. Michael Sweitzer (Jamie Smith, tbnewswatch.com)

THUNDER BAY -- As a high school student, Michael Sweitzer never thought he'd find a use for trigonometry.

But 30 years later the detective and blood spatter expert with the Thunder Bay Police Service is proving his young self wrong and showing a new generation of math students how math helps him every day in his job.

"The math they're doing has a validation," he said. "It's not just a theory."

Grade 11 university math students at Hammarskjold were busy Wednesday morning putting their trig skills to the test as they used real blood spatter, made with sheep's blood, and see what it's like to put math into the real world.

"Literally where the person is, from different blood stains and different angles," 16-year-old Aidin Johnston said.

"It's kind of cool."

Teacher Kimberley Copp was looking for a way to connect math with everyday applications when her friend Sweitzer asked for help studying trigonometry before he headed back to police college. That's when she got the idea to bring him in.

After the initial shock wore off that their teacher knows a blood splatter expert, they were pretty excited to use their math outside of the textbook.

"It's hard for them to buy in and see where their math is useful in everyday life," she said. "This is a good way to connect what somebody does in the real world."

Copp is hoping this is the start of other experimentists for her class, something Johnston hopes too.

"That would be much more fun," he said. 

 





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