Student solve Christmas mystery: Was grandma really run over? - WSMV News 4

Students solve Christmas mystery: Was grandma really 'run over by a reindeer?'

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Just because students in many school districts are enjoying their break doesn't mean the learning has to stop.

The song Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer was put to the test Thursday as participants at a forensic camp at Middle Tennessee State University investigated the "crime scene."

It started out as a Christmas story about a grandma who wasn't too fond of the holiday.

"Grandma turned naughty after she didn't get the red Ferrari she wanted," said camper Haley Burt.

Then, the story took an unexpected turn when a grandma came face-to-face with a reindeer.

"They have to figure out if she really did or not, and who ran over grandma at the end of this," said Dr. Hugh Berryman, director of the MTSU Forensic Institute for Research and Education.

Students learned about collecting evidence from a crime scene, DNA, toxicology and analyzing prints and hair as they solved the Christmas caper.

"We're learning about fingerprints and bones. It's really fun learning about certain things you didn't know before," said camper Chloe Smith.

The students were divided into groups in which they decided who the suspect could be, and it was up to them to prove their suspect committed the crime.

"We are prosecuting Rudolph because there were deer footprints on grandma," said camper Drew Priest.

One of the main goals of the camp is to improve the student's critical thinking, which is something organizers said will come in handy when the students return to school.

"Sometimes people forget the answers to question are inside their own head if they just walk themselves through it," Berryman said. "That's what these kids get a chance to do."

The day wasn't all just about collecting evidence and solving the crime.

"It's a lot of fun," Burt said.

The camp continues Friday when the campers get a chance to present their evidence before a jury of their parents and guests as to who they suspected ran over grandma.

The jury will then choose a winner.

For more information about forensic camps at MTSU, visit or call Mitzi Dunkley at (615) 494-7713.

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