Friday, December 30, 2005

[random][geek] CSI: Kindergarten

So, what with this being winter break and all, we signed The Boy up for 2 weeks of science camp at the Pacific Science Center. Each week has been loosely organized around a single theme, and the second week's been mostly about light and sound. They're covering some basics about optics and acoustics, and part of what the camp does during the day is to go on mini-field trips to the part of the science center that most closely relates to whatever the topic of the day is. This week, they've been drawing largely upon the Whodunit exhibit:
Visitors walk into a robbery scene at the Memory Diner. When the police respond, the short-order cook is the only witness. How reliable is he? Are the crimes related? Did the suspect leave clues at the diner? Visitors gather evidence at the scene and visit hands-on stations to solve the crime. Stations throughout the exhibit have activities geared for all ages of visitors.
One of the stations within this exhibit is a virtual autopsy: an abstract, stark white mannequin lies on a table, while a video of a post-mortem being performed on a murder victim (small caliber gunshot wound to the chest) is projected upon its chest. It looks pretty cool, but the last time I was at the Science Center with The Boy, it was getting late, he was getting overtired, and I wasn't sure how he'd deal with the autopsy (I was pretty sure he'd be okay with it, but you never know) so I heeded the "Not recommended for small children" sign and gently steered him on to other things. So yesterday, I'm picking him up after camp, and as we're driving away, he says "Dad, I don't know why you didn't let me see the body being cut open - it was really cool." Well, scratch that parenting effort... "Oh? Did your teachers take you into it?" "No. But the older kids went in there, and I'm sure they had permission." Hmmm. I'm not, but, hey... okay. As a result of his self-selected learning experience, on the ride home we discussed (at his prompting):
  • Why people are squeamish about the insides of bodies
  • Why people are squeamish about the outsides of bodies (he didn't understand why the lower half of the corpse was covered by a sheet)
  • How guns work - what makes the 'bang', what pushes the bullet out
  • How bullets kill people if they're so small
  • Those were the in-depth discussions; we also touched upon ballistics and the forensics of tool marks (rifling on bullets). How's that for an afternoon discussion with a 5 1/2 year old? I'll say this - he certainly doesn't have a one-track mind...


    Blogger Carnacki said...

    That sounds like an interesting experience for you and him. Perhaps you have the makings of a young Sherlock Holmes.

    12/30/2005 08:44:00 AM  
    Blogger protected static said...

    We've got the makings for a something - I'm not quite sure what, though ;-)

    Hey, happy blogiversary!

    12/30/2005 09:43:00 AM  

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