We had a smaller group for our CSI camp, so we did a few things we haven’t done with the larger groups. We separated the DNA from some strawberries and designed some double-helix structures while discussing the matching proteins in DNA. Also on the biology front, we dissected owl pellets and discussed how forensic anthropologists can study a skeleton, putting it back together and figuring out who it was, how they died and sometimes even how long they have been dead, although that is often up to other scientists who study the bugs and dirt surrounding the body. On that note, we tested some local soil samples to see the nitrogen, pH, potash, and phosphorus. We discussed the role these things play in growing plants, and what might be found at the scene of a crime.

We spent some time testing the malleability of various metals, then we etched iron and copper. We talked about how the scratches guns leave behind in bullets can be used to find the weapon used. Our etching techniques didn’t really mimic this, but we enjoyed seeing the different techniques. We used a copper sulfate solution to dissolve a copper plate, leaving a sticker-covered image behind, which is similar to the method used to create circuit boards used in many electronics. We used electricity to etch away at iron in a salt solution. Finally, we used a copper solution on some iron to create a rainbow effect.

We played some Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective and Clue to try to solve some crimes, and practiced noticing micro-expressions as we interrogated each other over the case of the missing candybars. We laughed over the older 1980s Clue movie.