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Students try hand at detective work




Crime is afoot at Sternberg Museum of Natural History.

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Crime is afoot at Sternberg Museum of Natural History.

However, the students in CSI: Hays, a Hays Recreation Commission class, are on the case.

This is the first time the class has been offered, and a dozen youngsters in seventh through ninth grade signed up for the two-day workshop Monday and Tuesday.

The session was taught by members of the Fort Hays State University Science and Mathematics Education Institute and Ellis County Extension - 4-H Youth Development staff.

"Today they're learning how to sort out a crime scene, and tomorrow they're actually going to go out and try to solve a crime," said Susan Schlichting, 4-H and youth Extension agent for Ellis County.

The class started with students learning about fingerprinting, blood typing and blood spatter.

"It's not real blood. It's not going to hurt you, but it reacts like real blood," Julie Weber a summer intern at the Ellis County Extension office, said as she explained how to test for blood type.

Weber said they were using simulated blood and antiserums. Antiserum has clumping factors and proteins that give a positive or negative reaction to the "blood."

Students also learned how shoe prints and stride length can be used to help identify how tall a suspect is, said Mallory Smith, FHSU Science and Math Education Institute project manager.

Besides incorporating what they learn to solve a mystery in the museum, each group of four students gave a presentation on Tuesday.

Emily Ricke, 12, had a personal reason to take the class.

"My dad (Brad Ricke) is a detective, and I wanted to see what he does every day. ... I like doing experiments."

Hannah Morrison, 12, likes math and science.

"I've always been interested in forensics and stuff like that," she said.

It just sounded like a cool class to Noah Vaughn, 12.

"We're learning how to figure out suspects," he said. "They're teaching us everything we need to know. Tomorrow we're going to use it to find out who's guilty."