Solving the Crime: Year 8 Forensic Science Incursion

Yesterday, Year 8 students participated in a forensic science incursion titled ‘A Case of Conspiracy’. This is an exciting and interactive educational experience. Observation and deductive reasoning combine with the science the girls learn in the laboratory, to solve crimes in the real world. They were taken on a journey into the world of the forensic scientist and learnt how forensic science helps the police solve crimes. They discovered how forensic evidence is gathered, analysed and how the results are compiled to provide a detailed picture of the events leading up to a crime, and of the criminal, even when eyewitness accounts are not available.

They quickly realised that all of the procedures used in forensic science are still based on simple techniques and principles learnt in the school laboratory.

This activity allowed the girls to develop their scientific inquiry skills (SIS) which is an integral component of the WA Science curriculum. They were provided with the opportunity to question, predict and conduct a range of experiments. The workshop also provided the girls with an opportunity to realise the use and influence of science (Science as Human Endeavour), again a component of the Science curriculum for Year 8.

Year 8 students, Mikayla Wohlsein, Caitlin Sule, Emma Batt and Alli Nokes were interviewed about their experience. Here are their comments below:

In your words, can you tell us what forensics is?

Mikayla Wohlsein: “Forensics is the branch of science that deals with the science behind crime scenes and it uses a range of scientific procedures to help solve crimes and it also supports the police in what they do.

What did you find valuable during this incursion?

Caitin Sule: ‘When you see crimes on TV and in the news, you see the outcome but not always the steps involved in solving the crime. I liked learning about this and also having a go myself. Also, what happens behind the scenes and the thought processes involved’.

What was the best part of the incursion?

Emma Batt: ‘I enjoyed the feeling as if you were given the responsibility of solving the case. I also enjoyed figuring out what actually happened and trying out the techniques. It was challenging and time-consuming, we were very busy and working out the fingerprints was tough. My brain was put to the test!’

Mikayla Wohlsein:’ I liked piecing all of the clues together and I also liked finding out from the presenter at the end what actually happened, I also liked that it was a real-life crime and that it took eight months to actually work out what happened’.

What are some of the key things you learnt from the incursion?

Alli Nokes : ‘I learnt the science behind crimes and the actual steps behind the processes used to solve them.”
Emma Batt: “I now realise how hard it is to solve crimes, it looks so easy on TV. Also, how sophisticated and smart the scientists are.”
Mikayla Wohlsein: I learnt how to problem solve and also there are several ways around a problem, I also learnt the power of perseverance, it took eight months to solve this crime.
Caitlin Sule: I am now more aware of the time it takes to solve crimes and also the difficulty of it and how important forensic science is.

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