Delaware News

Fifth-grader takes summer foray into forensics during trip to Washington


Although school is out for summer, Delaware students are being challenged to keep learning through enrichment opportunities.

Adrianna Rich, 10, who will begin fifth grade at Willis Intermediate School next month, recently traveled to Washington, D.C., for a week-long National Youth Leadership Forum that focused on engineering, medicine and forensics, geared toward students in grades 3-5.

Rich's mother, Mindy Rich, works for the Delaware City School District as the director of elementary special education.

Adrianna learned about being a forensic scientist during the forum. She said she has been watching NCIS with her mom and was intrigued by the role of scientists on the show.

"I love to find clues and analyze data so much that my mom said she is going to start calling me Abby, after the girl from the TV show," she said.

"We learned about things like blood splatter and analyzing paint chips, but we also learned about problem-solving, team-building and communication."

About 150 students attended the forum. One activity separated the students into groups, where they had to construct an item using spaghetti noodles and marshmallows, guided only by verbal instructions.

"It went pretty good, but we didn't understand some of the things they were telling us to do," Adrianna said.

The students took part in various investigations, including the case of a vase missing from a museum and analyzing handwriting on a notecard.

"We conducted experiments trying to figure out how fast a car was going when it hit a Dumpster and which suspect's handwriting belonged to which sample," Adrianna said.

She said she is looking forward to sharing some of her enthusiasm with her classmates when she enters Willis in the fall.

Adrianna said she loves school, so summer schoolwork wasn't a bother at all.

"Well, it depends on the subject ... I really enjoy science, so doing that in the summer was fun. It was really hard to find the density of chocolate, though."