Making Connections Monday: Meet CSI (Challenging Scientific Investigations) #IChooseBrenham

Kristi Felder & Sarah Cook
In 2007, Brenham ISD developed a new program to serve students identified by the district as gifted & talented. Challenging Scientific Investigations (CSI) originally served fourth grade students outside the regular classroom and was staffed by two certified teachers. Since then, the program has grown to include over 80 students in grades 2-6 and is now housed at the beautiful new Alton Elementary School campus. CSI is currently run by two dynamic educators who are passionate about science, have a deep love of learning and aren’t afraid to have a little bit of fun!

Sarah Cook started her career in Brenham ISD as a sixth grade science teacher at Brenham Middle School. In 2012, she accepted a position as the CSI Coordinator and Science Curriculum Specialist for the district. This year, Sarah was joined by Kristi Felder, former math and science teacher at Brenham Elementary School. Together, these ladies are continuing to expand the program, focusing on critical thinking, cross-curricular science connections and long-term project based learning units.

Students served by CSI are bussed to Alton Elementary school once a week to participate in engaging and thought-provoking scientific activities that entail research, development of a product, a presentation and often a culminating field trip. Second and third graders present “Egghead Scientists” after they research a scientist and create an egghead replica in a shoebox environment. Fourth graders research an artifact that has been mysteriously moved from its home country and then get to spend the night at the Natural Museum of Natural Science. Fifth graders begin a physics unit in the spring that ends at Fiesta Texas to celebrate Physics Day. Sixth graders get to participate in First Lego League, a competitive robotics program that focuses on creativity, core values and solving real world problems.

CSI students are challenged and encouraged in a technology-rich, collaborative environment that fosters leadership, communication, and critical thinking. When passing by the CSI room at Alton Elementary, don’t be surprised to see CSI students and staff dressed as mad scientists, acting out a play or building robots. It’s just another day in CSI! For more information about the CSI program, visit