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The CSI Experience - Incorporating Engaging Curriculum into Middle-School Classrooms across the Country

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Curriculum Development

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.1178.1 - 23.1178.10



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Paper Authors


Lindsey G. Groark Southern Methodist University

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Lindsey Gates Groark is the STEM Program Director at the Caruth Institute for Engineering Education at Southern Methodist University (SMU). In this role, she is responsible for the general leadership and management of the STEM portfolio including the Kids Ahead and STEM-Works websites as well as the collection of Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) camp programs. Lindsey is currently pursuing an M.A. in Community Leadership from Westminster College in Salt Lake City.

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Delores M. Etter Southern Methodist University

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The CSI Experience – Incorporating Engaging Curriculum into Middle-School Classrooms across the CountryBeginning in 2010, we initiated a Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) Summer Camp program as ameans of providing middle school students with an introduction into the science, technology,engineering and math (STEM) used by experts in crime solving. During each of these week-longevents, students participate in hands-on activities and attend presentations from law enforcementofficials and forensic scientists. These experts provide real-world applications and introducestudents to STEM professions with which they may have otherwise been unfamiliar. Each campuses a project-based learning approach oriented around a crime scene that students discover thefirst morning of the program. This framework adds an element of mystery and excitement to theSTEM curriculum while instilling confidence in students’ abilities in these disciplines.Participants in this program include campers (middle school students), teachers (middle schoolteachers) and counselors/mentors (undergraduate STEM students). Within this program,particular effort has been paid to include campers and teachers from underserved and high-needcommunities. This summer camp program has served approximately 300 students, 35 teachersand 20 undergraduate students throughout its tenure. All teachers who participate in this programreceive a CSI-kit including curriculum and materials needed to replicate the activities from thecamp in their schools and communities. As a result, approximately 5,250 additional students areindirectly impacted by the program each year.During the camps, numerous perception and feedback assessments are used to collect the datanecessary to evaluate the program. These assessments are grouped into three categories: camperand teacher perception; daily feedback; and teacher follow-up. Upon first arrival at the camp,students complete initial perception assessments regarding their current interests in andperceived importance of science and math. Campers then complete this assessment again at theend of the week. Results from this camper perception assessment have shown that the campsincrease student interest in both math and science and also increase the likelihood of thesestudents pursuing advanced education and careers in STEM fields. Teacher perceptionassessments address classroom teaching methods and how teachers anticipate incorporating thenew curriculum into their classrooms. At the end of each semester following the camp, teachersare contacted to complete a follow-up assessment with questions related to their use of thecurriculum, suggested modifications or best practices for its use and the number of additionalstudents impacted by the camp materials.Due to the positive results received during the first three years executing the summer camps, thisprogram has been expanded to include CSI Camps-for-a-Day and CSI Teacher Trainings andProfessional Certification Workshops around the country. Each of these programs furtherextends the impact of the CSI Camp curriculum and provides diverse communities around thecountry with the opportunity to engage with this impactful curriculum.

Groark, L. G., & Etter, D. M. (2013, June), The CSI Experience - Incorporating Engaging Curriculum into Middle-School Classrooms across the Country Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--22563

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