Kids get hands dirty in CSI class

 Messenger photos by Rachel Scofield
Instructor Kristen Ferguson helps Wade Humphrey, 6, and Jake Myers, 7, add glitter and sequins to create clay models of human cells. The boys participated in the "Mad Science CSI" class offered through Pickerington’s Parks and Recreation department during the week of July 28 through Aug. 1.

Although too young to watch "CSI" and its violent offshoots, several Pickerington students in grades first through fourth enrolled in a week-long science course patterned after the popular television series.

During the week of July 28 through Aug. 1, the Pickerington Parks and Recreation department sponsored "Mad Science CSI" conducted by Mad Science of Central Ohio.

"Basically, we incorporate all of the skills a good detective needs and on the last day we solve a crime," said Kristen Ferguson, the instructor. "It’s a lot of fun."

The students learned the parts of the cell, the basics of DNA and how to decode puzzles.

Renee Sefcik enrolled her 9-year-old son Chris in the class because "he likes this kinda stuff. He has crime scene kits at home. It’s just an interest of his."

Chris said he enjoyed the experience. His favorite activity from the first day was "cell tag." 

The children were divided into teams and played a game similar to "capture the flag." The red team represented cells from the immunity system and tried to defeat the green team of "invading organisms" by capturing their green flags. 

Likewise, the green team tried to steal the red team’s flags.

"If people like science, it’s a fun place," Chris said.

Ethan Miller, age 9, also enjoyed "cell tag" the most. Ethan’s mother, Margot, enrolled him so he could "spend time with friends and learn something too."

According to its Web site, Mad Science is the "world’s leading provider of science enrichment." The Central Ohio branch based in Gahanna offers many classes in various communities throughout the year. 

For more information about upcoming Mad Science classes, visit

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