SHERMAN, TX - Crime shows like “CSI” are very popular with kids and adults. So MasterKey Ministries in Sherman took that idea, added real-life science, and created a unique camp for local kids that combines the thrill of crime solving with learning.
"We actually went through some of the techniques that we would use in the field,” said Sherman Police Officer Larry Atherton, who spoke at the CSI Camp.
While the show “CSI” isn't real, the techniques learned at the DiscoverKeys summer camp are. From using observation to hands-on experiments, kids got to solve problems of their own.
"It's a very popular theme right now but we wanted to take it a step further and really do all of our activities and learning experiences where they were as authentic as possible,” said MasterKey Ministries Director Julie Rickey.
Detectives from the Sherman Police Department visited the CSI Camp to show kids some of the things they do. Officers showed them everything from fingerprinting, to examining a crime scene and imprinting – all real techniques they use to solve crimes.
"It’s always fun when you get to go talk to a bunch of kids and show them what you do for a living. And even in this age group the day that I was there, there were a lot of kids that had a lot of good questions and seemed to be interested,” said Atherton.
Rickey said she's using this themed series of summer camps as a way to change children’s views on learning.
"Learning can be fun, using your mind to solve things or to explore new worlds is a fantastic thing to do. And it'll increase your level of knowledge and your abilities and everything you do,” said Rickey.
One of the things she focused on at this camp was problem solving and vocabulary. Rickey said children learn best when adults don’t talk down to them, but instead use words young kids may not be as familiar with.
"All of their reading level goes up, their knowledge level goes up. And so that's one of the things we did this week, we'd say ‘how did you verify your answer?’ ‘What conclusion did you come up with?’ And ‘did you solve the problem?’" she explained.
The kids worked on solving a mock crime all week. By using clues and the skills they learned, these young investigators had it all figured out by the end of the week.
"Allow children to observe, allow children to think, and come to a conclusion themselves,” said Rickey.
MasterKey Ministries will hold one more themed-camp this summer which will be an African Camp focusing on different cultures. That takes place in two weeks. But Rickey also holds after school programs during the year as well as English as a Second Language classes for adults and children.
To contact MasterKey Ministries call: 903-870-6014 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org