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The appliance of science - King Edward's pupils use their skillis to solve crime


A group of budding forensic scientists from King Edward’s Witley delved into the world of crime when their classroom was turned into a CSI lab to help solve the mystery of the missing “Cock House Cups’.

The team of Year 9 students, armed with latex gloves and the contents of the school science cupboard, cast their eagle-eyed attention on the tricky task of tracking down the perpetrators of the misdemeanour, in a fun science project, code named ‘CSI Witley’.

Their mission was to find out who stole the valuable solid silver trophies from the Bridewell Room at the School. The Cups went missing last Thursday at approximately 8.47am. The criminals left plenty of clues at the scene - if you knew where to look - including handwriting samples, fingerprints & DNA evidence, blood and skin & pollen samples.

Scouring the area for evidence the pupils brought back samples to the lab for DNA profiling, psychological profiling, fingerprint testing and handwriting analysis.

They identified four suspects who each had a motive, the opportunity and no alibi for the time of the theft. Their findings were later presented to a judge for scrutiny in a mock trial.

The project, which brings together science, biology, psychology and maths was inspired by the award-winning CBS series CSI, one of the longest running scripted primetime TV series in the US. Many of the experiments seen in the show were expertly re-created by the School’s talented lab technicians.

Leading the investigation, Mr Cochrane, Teacher of Physics at King Edward’s Witley said, “We recreated a challenging and realistic case for the pupils to crack using the knowledge they’ve gleaned as to how the experts collect forensic evidence. Just like real-life forensic scientists the students learnt to observe carefully, organise, analyse and record data, do simple tests and to think critically to solve the case. The Cups are important to the School as they are awarded to the houses that achieve the most credits at the end of the year. The culprits were probably attracted to the value of the silver, which is currently estimated to be around £429 per kg. It’s vital that we get them back before they are melted down.”

Who knows where their investigations will lead them. Will they solve the crime?

Published: July 17 2017

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