The 2 ‘Un-Scientific’ Reasons Why I Let My Kids Analyze a Crime Scene
This isn’t the first time the Montreal Science Centre has hosted an exhibit for kids with a ‘morbid’ theme. Since our family thrives on darker sort of attractions, we have not been disappointed so far with the centre’s offerings. Their latest exhibition CSI: The Experience which ends on September 4, 2017 delves into the fascinating and often grisly world of forensic science. The exhibit caters to 8 years and up but I decided to also take my 6 year old daughter Kiarra along with her 10 year old brother Ronan.
It goes without saying analyzing a crime scene allows kids an inside look into the scientific world of forensics. Montreal Science Centre’s CSI exhibit is, without a doubt, an educational experience for kids. The exhibit, however, extends beyond offering a scientific educational component for its attendees. When I took Ronan and Kiarra to the exhibit, they also learned two life lessons I argue kids should know about the work of a CSI.
1 - Analyzing a crime scene at the exhibit taught Ronan and Kiarra that being a CSI isn’t always tantalizing or exciting work. Popular culture forms tend to over-sensationalize the life of a forensics expert. They make it seem more stimulating than it really is. Having to analyze what bullet was used or the shoe prints left at the scene of a crime showed my kids the brutal truth that working in forensics takes persistently meticulous work which can be at times mundane, exhausting, and tedious. Unlike television shows where evidence is analyzed effortlessly within minutes, Ronan and Kiarra learned that an actual analysis tends to take a much longer time.
2 - Ronan and Kiarra also learned at the CSI exhibit that not all criminal investigations have closure. At the end of the exhibit, the kids had analyzed all of the evidence, solved who was at the scene of the crime, how the victims were killed (or died) but not who committed the deed. Forensics experts, after all, are tasked with analyzing the evidence and not actually catching the individuals who committed the crime - then there is the question if foul play was even involved. It was a good exercise for the kids to take the evidence they uncovered without being pushed to make final conclusions about the overall case and ultimately without the closure television shows often associate with criminal investigations.
All in all, both Ronan and Kiarra enjoyed the exhibit although there were a few arguments between them here and there. Ronan felt at times Kiarra did not complete the exercises fast enough whereas Kiarra would get frustrated when Ronan would tell her the answers before she had a chance to figure them out herself. Then, there were the arguments over what exercise to complete or areas to visit first. Ah, well, I don't blame them. Life of a rookie CSI can be stressful work.
For those who want to add to your family’s CSI experience, the Rice Center for Technology in Teaching and Learning came up with an online version of the exhibit which offers more forensic-themed games and exercises to do in the classroom or at home. We have not had a chance to try any. Upon first inspection, however, the games and activities look like they would be worthwhile doing with the kids.
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For more info on CSI: The Experience
CSI: The Experience