CLSI: Cool Life Science Investigationsby: Florence F. McCann, Edmund A. Marek, Jon E. Pederson, and Carell Falsarella

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With the number of popular medical and forensics programs on television and many references in the media today, even elementary students can comfortably throw around terms such as cells, DNA, and artificial products. However, their questions on these topics often go unanswered, or they are left with misinformation regarding these concepts. As a result, a group of university science educators and the resource coordinator for an elementary school gifted program teemed up to create accurate, developmentally appropriate, and exciting experiences with these topics for students in grades K-5. The result of this collaborative effort was an after-school science “tradeshow,” which is described here.

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Reviews (7)
  • on Sun Dec 10, 2017 11:01 AM

This will be an awesome resource for me as a future teacher!

Mallory Van Winkle
Mallory Van Winkle

  • on Thu Oct 23, 2014 8:38 PM

This is a rare find - CSI related labs for the early learners. The labs were used as a Parent Science evening - but these nine labs can easily be adapted as Life Science investigations to use in K-5 classrooms as an introductory to police investigations. "Observation" is highlighted with students conducting their labs with the utilization of microscopes - comparing and contrasting their observations with their eyes, hand lens, and a microscope could easily be conducted.

Alyce D  (Peyton, CO)
Alyce D (Peyton, CO)

  • on Thu Mar 29, 2012 8:24 PM

Learning stations are set up for students to experience grade level activities to help them understand some of the basics of forensic science in an after school “tradeshow” format. This format allows students to work in groups of 10 at each of the stations performing an investigation that lasts between 30 and 45 minutes. Activities were planned for K-2 and 3-5 grade levels. For each level there were three different activities that would hook students into the Science that they saw on tv. It would have been nice to have access to the curriculum guides for the activities.

Sandy Gady  (Renton, WA)
Sandy Gady (Renton, WA)

  • on Wed Feb 22, 2012 10:26 AM

This article gives a cool way to explore Life Science with children using "CSI" techniques in an after school event. Exact instructions on each activity are given.

Betty Paulsell  (Kansas City, MO)
Betty Paulsell (Kansas City, MO)

  • on Wed Apr 27, 2011 7:49 AM

Many educators are looking for ideas for after-school STEM clubs. The activities outlined in this article would be perfect for both elementary and middle school students. They hook students with CSI-like activities and help the students better understand cells and DNA.

Ruth Hutson  (Westmoreland, KS)
Ruth Hutson (Westmoreland, KS)

  • on Fri Apr 01, 2011 2:56 PM

This article introduces an engaging after-school life-science science program for students in grades K-5. In this program, students and parents investigate cool teeth, cool DNA, cool cells, cool x-ray, and cool biochemistry. This would be a fantastic activity to do to get students, and their parents, excited about science!

Maureen Stover  (Seaside, CA)
Maureen Stover (Seaside, CA)

  • on Wed Mar 02, 2011 9:24 AM

This article is about an after school ‘trade show’ event designed by university professors for elementary students to show then true accurate life science and how it differs from some of the TV programs they watch. Learning stations for about 10 students each were set up with grade appropriate learning experiences. K-2 experiences focused on making accurate observations. Grades 3-5 activities dealt with ‘structure of simple cells, the classification of substances as “natural” or “artificial,” and the presence of DNA in nonhuman organisms.’ Students were given approximately 35 minutes at a station. The article describes what was at the stations and how successful it was. This article can serve as an example of how to get young students interested in real science.

Adah  (San Antonio, TX)
Adah (San Antonio, TX)

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