CSI skills to solve the mystery, the kiddie way!

NEWS | | May 30, 2012 at 9:08 pm

I have always been a huge fan of iRobot so when they invited me for a special press day to talk about the launch of Science From Scientists, without hearing the details, I said yes! Although the invite included details, which I later had to scramble and read to catch the “who’s that?”, the geek in me says yes to anything in the STEM field. So as I sat among the folks of iRobot, Google, school principals, congressmen etc I felt I was already in geek heaven.

The Science From Scientists program is one that focuses on getting children to not only participate in STEM subjects but to actually enjoy it. Real scientists go into classrooms and on a weekly basis teach science with amazing experiments etc. When I heard that a few students actually went up to these scientists and asked for autographs, it made my engineering heart sing. Another addition is a ”talk-show” type series (called The Dr. Erika Show) discussing the dilemmas of science experiments gone awry, currently available on demand to Comcast subscribers. These were pretty funny and may catch on to youth as it had a little more of their lingo, which made it tough for this mama to keep up with but I was not the audience. I thought the video was onto something when I saw my 7 year old draw electrons and the attractions of atoms after seeing the episode on static electricity.  My only hope is that they extend it to beyond Comcast subscribers.

 

Dr. Erika Angle, CEO and founder of Science For Scientists, manages to balance the tiara and the test tube. The next day several children from grades 4 – 8 were invited to take part in a day long CSI type adventure. So of course I have a 5 and 7 year old (only they would tell you they were almost 5 and almost 7 at this event) who were probably not the target audience, but I have never known to draw boundaries for learning (censorship and ratings is another story – coming soon to a blog post near you) so I wanted to watch and learn. We decided to play it by ear to let their actions speak of the interest. The 7 year old lasted the entire day and the 5 year old did way better than expected. You can read more on The Papa Post’s CSI coverage but here is a quick snapshot of what the day entailed.

In true CSI style we greeted with a dead body on the floor with police tape marking the area, and handed a folder with the evidence found at the scene. We then proceeded to several stations working with the several pieces of evidence: fingerprints, blood, white powder substance and a marker/pen mark. As we did experiments to see the nature of each, it led us closer to the killer. Seeing my kids learn about mixture of substances and their ability to dissolve or not, and marking their findings, was a treat. The fingerprinting station was an eye-opener for me as I managed to learn quite a bit including how to tell which finger the fingerprint came from. Now both my girls can tell the type of fingerprint you have, whether it is a “loop”, “whorl” or “arch” – neat stuff right there. A break to have some pizza, every detective needs to fill her belly, and continued to blood work. Learning the blood types and getting that closer to the real killer meant my daughter was really excited to see this to the end. It was also deduced a marker was another vital piece of evidence pointing to the killer.

One thing was for sure, no kid left there thinking science was not fun, something we already know it is!

Photo credit Lipofsky.com.

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