CSI Boys Camp – Day 2

The events of day 2 had a… shall we say, furry start. To lend our campers some help, and to potentially track down our kidnapping victim, Deputy Clayton Wood and K9 Rocky kicked off day 2.

DSC_0490Although the tracking trail went “cold” near the parking garage, these two visitors also gave campers a glimpse into the lives of law enforcement K9s and their handlers.


And while Deputy Wood gets a salary as a reward for his service, Rocky is content with his verysion of a bimonthly paycheck—a 50 lb bag of food, and a couple of treats of course.

DSC_0486After the K9 and his handler departed the scene, today’s events were all about biometrics. Biometrics is the science behind using biological traits in identification. First, campers learned all about what makes our fingerprint unique, and got to see their own fingerprint up close using a fingerprint scanner.

DSC_1733Then, campers learned how to dust for and collect a fingerprint from a crime scene (with a little help from the SMU police).






And rather than just learning interesting stuff, this activity had an end game: campers made their first discovery that helped them narrow their list of suspects. The suspect’s fingerprint type was a loop!

Next, campers learned other ways in which different parts of our bodies can be used to identify us. They learned what is unique about our hands and our eyes.


DSC_1766To round out the day’s events, campers had a surprising visit from the SMU Police and SWAT team. This visit was most surprising for camp director Phil Munsterman, who was ordered to get down on the ground upon their arrival.


But their dramatic entrance was all in good fun, and they spent the rest of their visit giving campers insight into what it takes to enter a career like theirs and what their daily duties include.




Day 2 was definitely full of excitement, so stay tuned to see what the rest of the week has in store for our investigators!



May’s Maine Event: CSI Day Camp Travels to Kittery

We found ourselves once again on the road last week as we traveled to beautiful Kittery, Maine for our 7th CSI day camp at Shapleigh Middle School. By far our biggest traveling event to date, this day camp featured students from a variety of schools in the area, including Shapleigh Middle School, Rochester Middle School, Dover Middle School, and Portsmouth Middle School. Additionally, these students were accompanied by a variety of teachers, administrators, and board members from the area and graced with presentations by the Kittery Police Department, Maine State Police, Rochester Police Department, Wells Police Department, and Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. We definitely had a full house in the best possible way.

The camp began with a warm welcome from a number of community members, including Shapleigh Middle School’s principal, Anne Ellis,
DSC_0005Kittery Police Department’s Police Chief Theodor Short,


Captain William Greene, Commander of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard,


and Officer Jay Durgin—a K9 officer with the Kittery Police Department—and Detective Chris Farley—detective with the Maine State Police.


After the group welcome, it was time to get to work! Campers returned to their classrooms to discover that there had been a kidnapping! There was only one thing to do: examine the crime scene and collect the evidence.



One of the main pieces of evidence was a cup containing a fingerprint. To learn why fingerprints are a biometric unique to each individual, and to accurately dust for and lift the suspect’s fingerprint from the cup, campers received help from the Kittery Police Department.




Students also got to get an up close and personal look at some of the vehicles that law enforcement professionals and investigators use to do their jobs.


They also learned that crime scene investigation isn’t limited to us humans—K9s also play a large role in law enforcement and investigations.





Then it was back to work, as the campers processed a note left at the scene using paper chromatography and zeroed in on the perpetrator using face recognition. Ultimately, the campers had a wonderful time, met some amazing professionals, and snuck some new science and technology skills into a really fun day.

We were so happy to bring our CSI Camp-for-a-Day program to the first northeastern community of the program. The people of Kittery and surrounding areas—students, teachers, professionals, and administrators—were wonderfully welcoming, and dove into this program with a wonderfully open and collaborative spirit. Additionally, the impact of the CSI Camp-for-a-Day was extended even further during the teacher workshop, which took place the night before the event. This workshop allowed us to share the full curriculum with teachers from all over the area so that they could, in turn, utilize these activities in their own classrooms for years to come.





We would also like to send a special thanks to Maryann Minard, School Liaison Officer with the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, for all of her hard work in bringing the people of this community together for this wonderfully successful event. For additional information about this event, or any of our CSI programs, please feel free to send us a note. And for those of you who participated in this event, we would love to hear your take on the day in our comments section!




CSI Day Camp Takes Colorado Springs by Storm!

Last week our team traveled to the beautiful city of Colorado Springs for our 4th CSI Camp-for-a-Day. Ok, you may be thinking “4th? But this is the first I’m hearing of them!” So allow us to back up.

Our CSI Summer Camp program has been one of our largest STEM programs for the past three years. Seeing as how these camps only take place in the Dallas area, we thought it would be a great idea to condense the program and travel the country with a series of day camps. So, after a pilot program fielded in Killeen, Texas in 2012, we packed up our camp materials and brought our CSI day camps to a number of military communities around the country in 2013.

During our CSI Camps-for-a-Day, our campers are able to gain hands-on experience with the STEM behind crime scene investigation. While a one-day time frame isn’t quite enough to sneak in all the activities from our summer camps, campers are still able to gain CSI skills in order to solve a mock crime. By teaching fingerprint dusting and sensor, paper chromatography, and face recognition analysis, these camps help students around the country gain a first-hand introduction to our project and STEM-based CSI curriculum and gain an introduction to CSI careers.

So, now back to Colorado Springs. This event took place at the wonderful Falcon Middle School, and included roughly 90 sixth and seventh grade students and 6 teachers. These sixth and seventh grade students moved through a crime scene investigation activity,fingerprint dusting and sensor activity, paper chromatography activity, and a facial recognition activity. Students then applied these skills to fit all the pieces together and determine the identity of our perpetrator!

Fingerprint Dusting activity

Fingerprint Dusting activity

Paper Chromatography Activity

Paper Chromatography activity

Additionally, campers had the opportunity to interact with local law enforcement and military professionals. The camp started off with a presentation Officer Wes Woodworth from the Colorado Springs Police Department and Rachel Brown, an Explorer from the CSPD’s Explorer Program. These two presenters introduced campers to the skills and tools crime scene professionals use in their investigations. After the presentation, these two split up, as Rachel led the fingerprint dusting activity, and Officer Woodworth took campers on a tour of his police car.

Officer Woodworth and Rachel Brown

Officer Woodworth and Rachel Brown

Rachel Brown leads Fingerprint Dusting activity

Rachel Brown leads fingerprint dusting activity

Campers check out the police car

Campers check out the police car

Woodworth and Brown

Woodworth and Brown

Campers were also treated to a presentation by the Ft. Carson K-9 unit. These professionals introduced campers to a few of their wonderful working dogs and to the duties these dogs carry out.

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This camp was such a huge success, and we are wonderfully grateful to all who attended. Everyone was extremely engaged, from the students, teachers, and administrators at Falcon Middle School, to the wonderful guests from the Colorado Springs Police Department and Ft. Carson.

Falcon Middle School teachers and principal (middle)

Falcon Middle School principal (middle) and teachers

But don’t just take it from us, check out this great article about the event and this wonderful video, which was put together by District 49 media.

And just in case we made you terribly sad that you couldn’t personally attend this event, you can still participate in solving this crime through our “Closing the Case” scavenger hunt!