Honey Creek Elemetary School fifth-grader DJ Goolsby checks out the mixture of evidence. About 50 fifth-graders participated in the Rockdale Magnet School for Science and Technology's annual forensic science camp last week to solve a fake crime scene. Staff Photo: Sue Ann Kuhn-Smith
CONYERS -- About 50 fifth-graders recently solved a mystery at the Magnet School.
Last week during the Rockdale Magnet School for Science and Technology's sixth annual forensic science camp, 48 rising fifth-graders studied a fake crime scene that involved the "death" of a Magnet student.
"They are smart for their age," said Magnet senior Lori Brown, who is one of the 17 Magnet students leading the labs this summer. "I did these experiments in ninth grade, and they are doing them as fifth-graders."
The camp is designed as an outreach to fifth-grade students from Rockdale County elementary schools to get them more interested in science.
Students participated in eight labs last week to solve the mystery. They studied the crime scene and then evaluated DNA, handwriting, shoe and finger prints, fiber and hair analysis and blood splatter.
Camp organizer Amanda Baskett, a research teacher at the Magnet School, said the students conducted biological, chemical and physical evaluations to present their case at a mock trial at the end of the week.
"I love science. I love how you get to learn about different things," said Victoria Owens, who attends Peek's Chapel Elementary School and would one day like to be in the Magnet School.
Honey Creek Elementary School student Andy Martin said it seemed that the summer program would be fun and he enjoyed doing a lot of the experiments. He said he sometimes watches crime-solving shows on TV with his grandfather.
"They're a lot of fun to work with," said Christian Goerner, a junior at the Magnet School. "They really seem to enjoy it."
He said participating in the camp in the past ignited his love for science and his desire to be in the Magnet program.
The camp, which costs $100 per fifth-grader, is a fundraising program for the Magnet School students to cover expenses as part of the French foreign exchange program. In the fall, Magnet students travel to France to conduct research projects with French students, and in February, the French students come to the Magnet school to work in the United States.
Magnet students also hold fundraisers throughout the entire school year to pay for the trip.