Vivian Huang is a huge fan of mystery books, but she never
had the chance to actually be a detective until this week.
As a student in CSI: Kids Investigate, a forensic science course run through the , Huang has learned how
to compare fingerprints, analyze clothing fibers and collect evidence at a crime scene.
“I’ve always wanted to know how detectives solve crimes,”
said the 12-year-old, who will be a seventh grader at Dodd Middle School in the fall. “I’ve read mysteries before and this feels like we’re in the book and solving the mysteries ourselves.”
The CSI course is one of dozens offered as part of the school district’s summer enrichment program this month at
Nearly 450 students in grades kindergarten through eight have participated this year, exploring interests such as art, dance, science, chess, writing, math, computers, music and sports. The district offered two, two-week sessions running from July 5 through 29.
“It gets them off the couch and keeps their brains stimulated,” said Summer School Director Stephen Proffitt. “A lot of the classes the kids choose themselves, so it’s more engaging.”
The classes, which cost $165 a session, run from 9 a.m. to
noon. Through a collaboration with the town’s those interested in a full-day program could enroll in Camp Sizzler, a traditional day camp running at the site from noon to 3:30 p.m.
While many of the courses are rooted in academics, students on
Friday morning were enjoying themselves too much to notice they were learning too.
“It’s the hands-on that I like,” said Shane Curtis, 10, a soon-to-be fifth-grader enrolled in the Rocket Camp course. “I have a lot of
fun with it – designing all the rockets and testing them out.”
Shane and his classmates spent the morning in their classroom building water bottle rockets using water-filled plastic bottles,
paper and corks. Students then headed outside and used a bicycle pump to pressurize the rocket enough to pop the cork and send the contraption flying.
“There you go, that’s water pressure,” teacher Betsy Stewart
told the group of fifth- and sixth-graders after the first successful launch. “Isn’t it cool?”
Stewart said the class introduces the basics of physics such
as Newton’s laws of motion as well as engineering concepts like wind
Next week, the kids will experiment with different types of “rocket
fuel” (think diet coke and mentos) before moving on to engine-powered rockets by the session’s end.
In the CSI course, students spent this week learning the basics of detective work. Next week, they will examine a simulated crime scene and apply the techniques they have learned to solve their own whodunit, said instructor Debi Bertenshaw.
“There is no set answer. It’s all based on their evidence, which is how it is in real life,” Bertenshaw said. “If you’re on a jury, no one tells you at the end, ‘yeah, you came up with right answer.’”
Other popular classes include Adventure Sports and Skills, Books Come Alive, Creative Journaling and Unraveling Mysteries.
On stage in the cafeteria, a group of first- and second-graders in the Rhyme, Rhythm and Song class were singing, clapping and stomping out classic nursery rhymes set to a beat.
“It’s awesome,” said Caitlyn Desmond, a rising first-grader
who had just finished rehearsing her song-and-dance numbers for next Thursday’s parent performance. “The friends are really nice and very helpful.”