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Who stole the cookies?
Students become detectives at Explore Camp
Marco Sanchez, a rising fifth-grader at John Redd Smith Elementary School, looks through a microscope Wednesday during the Explore Camp at Fieldale-Collinsville Middle School. (Bulletin photos by Ashley Jackson)
Who stole the cookies at Fieldale-Collinsville Middle School?
That’s what students in a Sci-Tech class are trying to find out this week during Henry County Schools’ Explore Camp at the middle school.
The campers have been using crime scene investigation (CSI) skills to solve a simulated crime: stolen cookies.
On Wednesday, the 19 students in the Sci-Tech class had their notepads out at the “crime scene” — the school kitchen — to write down every detail they found.
Hunter Foley, a rising fifth-grader at Sanville Elementary School, noticed a red stain on a note left by the culprit, dirt on the floor left by the culprit’s shoes, pieces of cookie left on the stove and a sticker with the number 420 on it seen near the cafeteria.
Zack Millett, a rising fifth-grader at John Redd Smith Elementary, thought that the number 420 might be the locker number of a student culprit, so he placed a middle school student on his list of suspects, he said.
Zack also listed his Sci-Tech instructor, Donna Hicks, and county schools spokesperson Melany Stowe as suspects, he added.
After sketching out the crime scene, the students returned to the classroom to analyze the evidence they found. They did soil analysis, powder analysis, stain analysis, fingerprint analysis and ink analysis, according to Hicks.
The students will not directly get to analyze DNA, but they will have a lesson teaching them how it is done, Hicks added.
Throughout the week, the campers have been working with microscopes in preparation for the investigation, Hicks said.
“It’s the best crime scene, and it’s awesome” to get to analyze the evidence, said Marco Sanchez, a rising fifth-grader at John Redd Smith Elementary.
“I’m excited to solve a mystery,” said Zachary Wilson, a rising fifth-grader at Axton Elementary. He added that he wasn’t sure who stole the cookies yet, so he would have to gather the clues to find out.
The students will continue investigating today to find out the identity of the cookie thief.
Hicks chose to incorporate CSI into the class because it’s popular among students. She also hopes to instill a passion for science in them and interest them in different technologies, she said. In addition, the CSI activities allow students to think critically and analyze, Hicks said.
A total of 200 children, all rising fourth- through eighth-graders, are participating in the Explore Camp this week, Stowe said. The camp is in its eighth year.
A new part of the camp this year is that students will take a field trip Friday to Virginia Tech. There, they will get a tour of the college campus, eat in a dining hall and visit classrooms related to the subjects they studied all week in camp, Stowe said.
Throughout the camp, the students were encouraged to wear their favorite colleges’ colors because “it’s never too early to talk about college,” Stowe said.
School officials hope the visit to Tech will get students excited about college.
Explore Camp allows students to discover various electives that are available in high school as well as possible hobbies, Stowe said.
Other classes offered in the camp are Advertising and Marketing 101, which allowed students to create original advertisements and examine persuasive techniques; Broadway Bound, which helped students develop their stage presence through fun activities involving singing, acting and dance; Let’s Dance, which taught students various warm-up and dance techniques as well as a jazz dance routine; 21st Century Art, which allowed the campers to express their creative sides by taking normally discarded items to create art, including the discovery of duct tape as an art medium; Discover Golf, which allowed students to improve their golf games with sessions on etiquette, rules and golf swing; Games, Games, Games, which got students moving with games such as Twister, bowling, Putt-Putt and Frisbee; Green Thumb Etc., which allowed students to study and explore the art of fresh-cut flower arranging, potting plants and conducting soil tests as well as building a small woodworking project; Hunting and Fishing, in which students earned their Virginia Hunter Education Certificate from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and went fishing at a local pond; and LEGO Robotics, which included the students building and programming their own robot.