Monday, August 3, 2015

CSI: Ann Arbor

Very excited to find some evidence!
Monday, our campers learned the importance of observation and evidence.  After a short presentation on crime scene basics, we got a chance to document all the evidence in a mock crime scene.  After carefully collecting, labeling, and photographing the evidence, we began to build hypothesis based on the evidence.  We also learned about how some evidence is more useful than other pieces. Although eyewitness testimony may seem like solid, irrefutable evidence, it is often unreliable.  We played some witness experiment games to judge how good of an eyewitness our campers would be.  Having to recall scenes, faces, and details from memory can be difficult, especially because people are so vulnerable to suggestion.  Campers also learned why putting events in logical, chronological order and keeping all of the information straight and organized is important to a case with our "Disorganized Data" game. By taking a long list of related events and putting them in logical order, we were able to solve a few faux cases.

Dusting for prints
Tuesday was all about fingerprint and impression evidence.  Did you know everyone's fingerprints are unique?  Even identical twins (who share identical DNA) have different fingerprints.  For this reason fingerprints are very important pieces of evidence if found.  Campers go a crash course in ridgeology before heading to our fingerprinting lab.  Each camper was able to study their own fingerprints after having their fellow campers help them take them.  The kids also were able to dust for latent prints (prints left behind on objects) using magnetic fingerprint dust.  After dusting for prints on a series of objects we used tape to lift the prints which we could then identify!  We also learned about impression evidence left by things like shoes and tires.  From the placement and order of footprints in our fake crimes, we were able to build a pretty good picture of what took place at a scene!

Taking their own fingerprints

Wednesday, we learned about police officers.  Our Orange, Blue, and Green groups took a trip to the University of Michigan Police Station to meet with Officer Kaitlyn and Officer Joe.  They were able to see the different spaces where police officers work, ask them questions about their job, see the gear they wear and use, and even meet Officer Tank, a police dog.  Yellow group stayed at the museum and had their field trip come to them.  After making some decoders and police hats, they were reading to meet with real police officers.  Officer Matt and Officer Joe talked about what police officers do and what their job is like.  Yellow group also got to try on all the different gear that police officers need to wear.  Of course, Officer Tank made an appearance as well!  After the presentation, campers had to go through detectives training.  They were led on a scavenger hunt through the museum where they needed to use their brain and brawn to solve clues, codes, puzzles, maneuver through laser beams, and run an obstacle course.  At the end of their training they received their police badge!

Trying on the police vest

Thursday was about hair, fibers and DNA!  Hair seems like a simple thing, but it can actually tell us a lot about a suspect.  Color, composition, and even DNA can be found in hair.  Campers made their own hair strand model on a much larger scale.  They also got a chance to compare different hairs and fibers under our stereoscopes, matching samples given.  We also took a crack at DNA codes.  By making color coded models of DNA we were able to build our own strands to match suspects and solve some crimes.

Campers documented the crime scenes
Friday was our mock crime scene.  Blue and Yellow group solved the "Case of the Missing Coprolite", while Green and Orange group solved "Murder at the Museum"!

Someone stole a Coprolite from the upcoming exhibit on trace fossils.  It was up to Blue and Yellow group to collect evidence to compare to the three police suspects.  After being briefed on the crime and suspects the groups collected evidence from the scene, dusted for prints, examined the evidence, motives, and alibis to accuse the perpetrator!

"Murder at the Museum"
Late last night, on the museum's fourth floor, a murder took place!  Someone killed our Education Director and it was Green and Orange group on the case.  They also collected evidence like fingerprints, fibers, and blood and interrogated suspects, inspecting their motives and alibis.  Using everything we learned this week were able to accuse the right suspect!

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