Leaving our print on the world of CSI

Okay, so we promise this blog won’t be completely focused on our programs, but before we jump into the meat of STEM we want to introduce you to our CSI programs. In addition to the Kids Ahead and STEM-Works websites, we have a set a programs focused on Crime Scene Investigation (or CSI). Building on the popularity of TV shows such as CSI: (Enter City Name Here), NCIS, Bones, and many others, we thought that using the framework of CSI would be a great way to introduce students to the vast array of STEM used in solving crimes. Sure, the TV shows demonstrate some of this, but we wanted to take it a step further and give students the opportunity to engage in hands-on activities that would excite them to learn more. Hence, our CSI Camps!

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The SMU CSI Camp program started in 2010 with a pilot summer camp offered on SMU’s campus. We welcomed 80 middle school girls from the Dallas community and introduced them to the science and technology behind CSI through various hands-on activities and expert presentations. Realizing that this was an effective (and fun) way to teach STEM content and skills, we continued building on the summer camp program and have spent the last few years expanding this program in order to offer it in communities around the country. Using the framework of a mock crime, campers at our CSI camps investigate evidence through hands-on activities and are introduced to exciting careers related to CSI.  Within this portfolio we now offer:

  • CSI Summer Camps: week-long camps for middle school students
  • CSI Camps-for-a-Day:  one-day camps for middle school students
  • CSI Teacher Workshops: ½ day, 1 day, and 2 day workshops for teachers

This blog will include information from our CSI camps including: activities and modifications to use in your community; stories from these events; and information about how to participate in these events. We will also build on the CSI content available on the Kids Ahead and STEM-Works websites in these posts. If you have participated as a teacher or counselor in any of our CSI events in the past and want to share your experience, please let us know!

These programs are also something that you may be able to get involved in or request for your community. If you are interested in having us come to your community to offer a Camp-for-a-Day or Teacher Workshop, please contact us at CSIcamps@smu.edu.

For a sneak peek at the happenings during a CSI Summer Camp, check out this recap video from the 2011 CSI Summer Camps.

We would like to thank the Office of Naval Research and the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research for their generous support of the SMU CSI Camp programs.