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UMW News Bureau

Middle school students working in the lab

Seventh and Eighth graders from around Montana were on UMW campus participating in the first CSI-Birch Creek Summer Camp.

There were CSI investigators on the University of Montana Western campus, but they weren’t filming another spinoff of the popular television show.

Thirty middle school students from across Montana spent a week on the Dillon campus for the CSI: Birch Creek summer camp. The seventh and eighth graders investigated a fictitious crime scene in the Birch Creek drainage.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Nichole Rang of Arlee, Mont. watches as Lisa Holt of Marion, Mont. places a sample into the thermo cycler. "]CSI-Birch Creek Students in the lab.[/caption]

The students were divided in two groups, with one group doing field work and the other doing lab work. Using the skills learned at the camp, the students unlocked the secrets of the crime that happened at the Birch Creek Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camp in 1936.

Camp activities were held both at the Birch Creek Center and in science labs on the Montana Western campus. Students learned all aspects of crime scene investigation techniques and the history of the CCC.

On the final day, each group gave a presentation of evidence and their conclusions  of who did it! After each presentation, the group performed a skit detailed of the events of the crime.

CSI-Birch Creek was funded by a GEAR UP grant from the U.S. Department of Education and administered by the Montana Office of Commissioner of Higher Education.