2013 CSI Boys Summer Camp

Let the Investigation Begin!

Logo_CSI Summer CampOur 3rd annual CSI Summer Camps were a huge success. During the week of July 15-19 we welcomed incoming 6th and 7th grade boys from the Dallas/Houston area onto our campus here at SMU. Our campers weren’t the only ones to join us either, as a number of teachers from across the U.S. also joined us to learn all about how CSI can be incorporated in their classrooms to teach a variety of STEM concepts.

This year we introduced a new and exciting feature to our camp series: live-blogging. We decided that it wasn’t enough to let the kids have all the fun, so the STEM-Works blog went behind the scenes of both camps to give campers’ families, friends, and the larger CSI and STEM communities an inside look into the camp experience. Readers were able to view pictures and read stories about the camps, and they also got to voice their opinion about who the perpetrator was through polling!

Don’t worry, it’s not too late to get into the action! This page contains all of the posts from the 2013 CSI Boys camp, so you can experience what it was like to dive into this CSI investigation!

Day 1 Morning

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The crime scene

There’s been another kidnapping! We’re very excited to welcome our incoming 6th and 7th grade boys to week to of our CSI Summer Camps! After being introduced to crime scene investigation by the SMU SWAT team, our campers-with the help of Andrea Webb, psychophysiologist- got right to work interrogating our eye witness.

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Dr. Andrea Webb, Psychophysiologist gives our witness a polygraph test

Campers then got to work observing,

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Campers take notes at the crime scene

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Campers identify evidence

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Taking more notes

collecting evidence,

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Campers collect evidence

taking pictures,

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Campers take pictures of the crime scene

and taking measurements at the crime scene.

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Camper measures evidence to help with the scaled sketch

Our campers will spend the afternoon making sense of all the evidence with help from the local branch of NCIS, or the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. Stay tuned to find out what the campers discover… Rumor has it that we’ll soon be introduced to our suspects!

Day 1 Recap

Sitting in auditorium on a rainy Monday morning, our boy campers received a big surprise when guys from the SMU SWAT team barged in from the back door, armed with rifles and in full suits and armor! Luckily…no one was arrested that morning.  The SWAT guys came as friends and bearers of more interesting information.  They even let the boys feel the weight of a real armor vest!  The SWAT team is awesome!

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SWAT team in full gear

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Don’t mess with SWAT!

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Campers handle a bulletproof vest

After a busy morning of evidence collecting at the crime scene and learning how to seek out liars, our campers received some more advice from an expert friend from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) department! Hearing the stories from Special Agent Goates’ years of experience, the campers gained more insight into how to commence their investigation of the mysterious kidnapping at the Caruth Institute!

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Special Agent Goates

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Diligent listeners

By the end of the day, the boys achieved a breakthrough! The guys (or perhaps gals) with the red shirts –it had to be one of them!

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Camp teachers (from left) Phil Munsterman and Philip Lockhart, and camp counselor Richard Martinez

By the end of the day, the campers obtained information that will help them solve this morning’s crime. Here’s what we know so far:

– A police report describing that a kidnapping occurred at the Caruth Institute after police received a phone call at 8:55 am.
– The method of entry was lawful.
– A Suspect Line-up has been compiled for the crime, which includes information about the suspects’ identities, fingerprint types, whereabouts, and the types of markers they were carrying immediately after the crime.

Stay tuned throughout the week as we narrow down our list of suspects and find out whodunit!

Boys Camp Day 2 – Morning

The morning of the second day of camp was all about fingerprints!  Our boys were hard at work learning the tools they need to analyze the fingerprints of the suspects.  This will help them narrow down who the kidnapper is!

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Fingerprint Sensor lab

But…everyone needs a little help sometimes…

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Getting your fingerprints scanned by a sensor can be a little overwhelming.   Don’t worry, our counselors are super nice!

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Camp counselors Brian Crouch and Juan Levario help campers

Apparently fingerprint dusting can be a little hard to handle as well!

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So excited!

But never fear…our awesome camp teachers have everything under control.

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Camp teachers Anna Hoffman and Sam Seidel

See, learning about your fingerprints can be loads of fun!

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Yes, fingerprint dusting can be a little frustrating (and messy).

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Campers lift fingerprints from bottle

But with the aid of our friendly police officers, everything ended up according to plan! Now the campers know how to collect fingerprints from evidence such as Snapple bottles and analyze them by distinguishing between the different types of fingerprints.

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SMU Law Enforcement leads campers in fingerprint dusting activity

Now that the boys have gained some new knowledge, they need to boost their energy before continuing on with their investigation.  That means…LUNCH TIME!!!!!

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Day 2 Recap

After spending the morning examining how fingerprints serve as identifiers, campers spent the afternoon learning about forensic anthropology and medical examination. Then our campers put their knowledge to the test to narrow down our list of kidnapping suspect list. According to the fingerprints found at the crime, our suspect’s fingerprint type was a loop. This determination eliminated the following suspects:

  • Andrew Blanchard
  • Anna Hoffman
  • Kristine Reiley
  • Sam Seidel
  • Amie Torres

So what do you think? Who dunnit?

Day 3 Morning

Our campers got their hands dirty this morning examining more of the evidence found at the crime scene – a note and a soil sample.

Campers hit the lab to place the soil sample under the microscope, hoping to determine its place of origin.

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Soil analysis lab

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And because the note was written with a black marker, our investigators-in-training were able to determine which type of marker it was written with in our paper chromatography lab.

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Paper chromatography lab

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Camp teacher Kellen Buffington helps campers with paper chromatography lab

Day 3 Recap

After our campers spent the morning identifying where the culprit’s soil sample came from and which marker he/she used in the note found at the scene, campers moved on to some fun biometrics activities. These activities taught our campers about the many ways the human body can be used to identify people, from our ears to the way we walk.

The end of our camp day sure had teeth… literally. Officer Martin came to visit our camp, and she brought her dog, Caro, with her.

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Caro

Officer Martin and Caro make up the K-9 unit for the Wylie Police Department. Caro assists Officer Martin in finding things, from people, to narcotics, to cell phones lost by other police officers during a chase.

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Officer Martin and Caro

Though Caro definitely had teeth, at his heart his is just a playful dog who loves his owner.

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And we couldn’t let the kids have all the fun today. Our staff enjoyed the presentation just as much.

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Officer Martin, Caro, and camp counselor Juan Levario

By the end of the day, we learned that the marker used at the crime scene was an Expo marker, which ruled out the following suspects:

  • Danielle Caldwell
  • Brian Crouch
  • Phillip Lockhart
  • Phil Munsterman

So NOW who do you think dunnit?

Day 4

We have had quite the busy day today! Though our gumshoes have been doing an amazing job narrowing our list of suspects on their own, we thought we’d bring in a little backup. Special Agent Marshall from the FBI spent his morning helping our campers examine the evidence of the kidnapping case and identify some clues they may not have thought of. SA Marshall also gave campers a realistic idea of what it takes to pursue a career with the FBI.

Special agent Marshall

Special agent Marshall

Our investigators-in-training learned a lot from Special Agent Marshall, and everyone was sad to see him go.

After we parted ways with the FBI agent, campers went right back to work on their biometrics activities. They learned how the shape of our hands,

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Hand geometry activity

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the shape of our ears,

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Ear recognition activity

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and the way we walk, can be used to identify us.

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Gait recognition activity

The afternoon was spent focusing on a much smaller part of our body, our DNA. Dr. Jones of SMU stopped by to discuss what DNA is and how it is used in CSI.

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Dr. Jones

Once Dr. Jones made campers experts in DNA, they applied this knowledge to extract their very own DNA sample from a strawberry.

They smashed,

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strained,

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and took home their very own sample!

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Our campers learned all sorts of wonderful new information today about the FBI, biometrics, and DNA, and we are now down to four remaining suspects. So this is your final chance to guess whodunit!

Who do you think it was?

Day 5 Morning

For the last day of camp, we really wanted to have a bit of fun. So, after a morning “Harlem Shake” warm-up…

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we were visited by Denton County Sherrif’s Office.

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Officer from Denton County Sheriff’s office

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Sheriff’s vehicle

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The officers brought their gear

The representatives from the Denton Sherrif’s Office provided campers with an inside look into their job duties, and allowed campers to do a little exploring.

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CSI Boys Camp – The Gripping Conclusion

After examining all the evidence uncovered by the week’s investigation, campers tested their CSI knowledge during the final activity – the scavenger hunt! Campers went station to station, slowly piecing all of the evidence together. Once the puzzle was completed,  our campers determined that our kidnapper was…

Ashad Agyapong

Juan Levario

Melissa “Missy” Vacha

Kellen Buffington!

Campers identify the perpetrator

Campers identify the perpetrator

Take him into custody, boys!

Take him into custody, boys!

While it was bittersweet to see our campers go, we know that the campers, and the staff, will carry their memories of camp for the rest of their lives. We had such a wonderful time during this year’s CSI Summer Camps, and we are honored to have provided an opportunity for students to learn new STEM skills.

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