CSI: Dognapping

By Jim Danneskiold

Photography By Randy Montoya

Thursday, January 31, 2019

student scientists examine samples in beakers   student scientist makes an observation

More than 500 fourth-graders visited the Sandia/UNM Advanced Materials Laboratory at the University of New Mexico recently for a chemistry magic show, but instead were accused of dognapping the chemistry dogs, GreyShoes and Sister.

For the rest of the week, the students applied their minds to the “Whodunit” and examined physical evidence, data and clues based on chemistry, biology and basic science. They analyzed purple water in the dogs’ drinking bowl and other liquids found at the scene of the dognapping, examined various fibers, powders, gases and other items, and gained hands-on experience in the disciplines that comprise Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

All the activities were part of the 15th CSI Dognapping program, organized by LaRico Treadwell with help from Tineca Quintana of Community Involvement and numerous volunteers from Sandia, UNM and the Albuquerque Public Schools.

This year, students came from Chelwood, Eugene Field, Emerson, Mission Avenue, Tomasita and Lowell elementaries.

“The workshop promotes and challenges youth in scientific methods and encourages self-confidence and teamwork,” LaRico said. “They learn lab safety, how scientists must use all five of their senses and, most importantly, that it’s OK to ask questions and have fun.”

The program — founded by Sandians Timothy Boyle and Bernadette Hernandez-Sanchez — won the ChemLuminary Award for Outstanding Kids and Chemistry from the American Chemical society, making Sandia the first national laboratory to do so.

student scientist examines shoe print clue   student scientist uses height chart

scientist demonstrates chemical reaction to students   kidnapped dog makes an appearance