CSImsa @ Belle Valley – Thursday: Drops to DNA Part 1

CSImsa @ Belle Valley – Thursday: Drops to DNA Part 1

Today our CSI technicians began what will be a two day process to extract DNA from a broken vase found at the crime scene. In order to prepare themselves to discover what should be the most convincing piece of evidence, students learned about the extraction process by using their own DNA!

After their training, investigators are ready to process the last piece of evidence tomorrow!

Ask your student:

What was one substance you used in the extraction of your own DNA? (Gatorade, soap, alcohol)

 

 

Vital Signs @ Chicago – Thursday: The Blood Part 1

Vital Signs @ Chicago – Thursday: The Blood Part 1

Today, our scientists delved into the study of blood type and the genetics that help determine it. Students first discovered the physical basis behind the ABO blood type group, analyzing different antigens. In the lab, they attempted to determine the blood type of different samples by creating antibody reactions.

The analysts-in-training also learned the basics of Mendelian genetics, discovering how blood type traits are inherited and why some are dominant over others.

Ask your student:

How many total possibilities are there for blood type? (there are 8 including both genes: A+/-, B+/-, AB+/-, and O+/-)

What is one method to predict the blood type of the offspring when you know that of the parents? (use a Punnett square)

CSImsa @ Chicago – Wednesday: Tie Dyes

CSImsa @ Chicago – Wednesday: Tie Dyes

The crime scene team began analyzing a promising new lead today by testing oil samples found on the driveway at the crime scene and comparing them with oil samples from suspects’ driveways. Students discovered the uses for the science of chromatography by watching how different colors separate, and using that information to match the crime scene oil with a likely culprit.

Our forensic scientists are developing a clearer picture of the case, and feel close to a breakthrough!

Ask your student:

What is chromatography used for? (separating materials)

What new information did you learn from your evidence analysis today?

Vital Signs @ Chicago – Wednesday: A (Simulated) Urinalysis

Vital Signs @ Chicago – Wednesday: A (Simulated) Urinalysis

Today, our junior medical practitioners were put to work in the lab! Our campers learned that many different diseases can be diagnosed based on the pH of urine.  Using (simulated) urine, they tested the pH levels of various samples and then handed out diagnoses based on the results. Our fledgling scientists will continue to use their rapidly developing medical skills in the days to come!

Ask your camper: What diseases are possible if a urine sample is a pH of 3.0?

 

Vital Signs @ Chicago – Tuesday: Sheep Heart Dissection

Vital Signs @ Chicago – Tuesday: Sheep Heart Dissection

Day 2 is over, and our daring dissectors have had an in-depth look at the workings of every mammal’s most important organ: the heart! During their exploration, students continued to recognize the relationship between structure and function that is present everywhere in biological structures. One student commented, “Every piece of the organ has a specific job, and everything is efficient!”

The scientists-in-training will continue to explore this connection between structure and function as the week goes on!

CSImsa @ Chicago – Tuesday: Lift a Finger

CSImsa @ Chicago – Tuesday: Lift a Finger

Our CSI team is well on its way to cracking the case! Today, the scientists-in-training delved into the study of fingerprints. They first fingerprinted themselves in order to learn about the different recognizable fingerprint patterns. Students then examined the fingerprint evidence collected from the crime scene and attempted to match it with prints collected later from suspects.

Our investigators have had a busy two days, but there is more forensic science to be done before the culprit can be apprehended!

Ask your student:

What are the three characteristic fingerprint patterns? (loops, whorls, and arches)

After two days, do you have any theories about the case?

BioSleuths @ Belle Valley – Friday: Forensic Entomology

BioSleuths @ Belle Valley – Friday: Forensic Entomology

Today, students continued their study of forensic entomology: the use of knowledge of insects to help solve criminal investigations. Our junior investigators learned how forensic entomologists use the life cycle of maggot-laying flies in order to determine the exact time of death of a victim. In order to observe the life cycle in action, students examined their canned chicken samples from Monday.

In addition, the biosleuths used the knowledge they had gained about forensic entomology to solve crime scene situations!

Ask your student:

What exactly are maggots? (fly larva)

How can forensic scientists use maggots to estimate time of death? (life stages of a fly take a known amount of time)

CSIMSA @ Belle Valley – Friday: Drops to DNA Part 2

CSIMSA @ Belle Valley – Friday: Drops to DNA Part 2

The case has been cracked! Our junior forensic scientists worked in the lab today in order to extract DNA from the pieces of a broken vase that were found at the crime scene. After analyzing the evidence and comparing it to the DNA samples from several key suspects, the CSI team has identified the culprit!

Students concluded the week with a successfully cracked case, and experience with real CSI science!

Ask your student:

Were your suspicions from earlier in the week correct? If not, what evidence changed them?

Vital Signs @ Chicago – Monday: Glasses Galore

Vital Signs @ Chicago – Monday: Glasses Galore

On the first day of a jam-packed week, students delved into bio engineering, specifically creating glasses! Our budding engineers explored the different types of lenses and their ability to magnify and minimize objects from various distances. The campers combined different strengths of lenses to enhance their vision and read ultra-fine print from 6 and 8 feet away.

Ask your student:

Do eyeballs have convex or concave lenses? (convex)

CSImsa @ Chicago – Monday: Observation 101

CSImsa @ Chicago – Monday: Observation 101

The detectives have called in the CSI unit, and our junior forensic scientists are on the case! The investigation is well under way, with students honing their observation skills by spotting hidden objects in various pictures. They also practiced their mastery of memory and recall by seeing a series of objects and attempting to remember what was shown.

Investigators will continue to utilize their observational talent throughout the week as they attempt to solve the case!

Ask your student:

What evidence have you collected so far in the case?

How did you do in your observation and memory skills practice?