Heathdale flower 23rd June 2022

Putting Forensics Under a Microscope

Some of our students recently took a closer look into the worlds of Forensics at Deakin University, as they investigated a crime scene and studied evidence to figure out who the suspects could be.

Heathdale flower

In June, some of our Year 10 students had the privilege of attending a Science extension excursion on the area of Forensics. The day began at Deakin University’s forensic crime scene house where students were able to observe a crime that was committed and look for clues in the house to determine what happened and who the suspects were. This was followed by practical activities conducted in the University’s science labs where students observed finger prints and applied techniques used to take finger prints from the crime scene and match them with available data, compare the handwriting of suspects, run tests to determine types of powders found at the crime scene, observe patterns of blood splatter, view different types of pollen found on clothing in the crime scene under microscopes, compare DNA samples, measure maggots to determine how long a body had been deceased and so much more! Insights gained from the students who attended found the excursion enriching and worthwhile. It gave them great exposure to science outside the classroom and see that what we are learning in class can be applied to real life scenarios.

Let's hear from some of our students!

“The Forensic Detective program run by the friendly staff at Deakin University Geelong was without a doubt an experience of a lifetime. The three-hour workshop alongside other students was a special opportunity in which we were able to actively participate and showcase what we had to offer in a real-life setting. It was encouraging to be able to convey any ideas or thoughts related to the murder case we were presented with. The progression of the investigation of clues related to the crime was lively and dramatic as the overall creation of the crime scene was nothing short of brilliant. Roaming around the several areas and discovering clues was therefore my favourite section of the experience. Of course, the hands-on science aspect of the experience was also worthwhile. To further expand on our knowledge of areas of science like genetics obtained from lessons at school, we were able to work through the real-world application of several fields of science. For example, the analysis of fingerprints helped us understand how gene analysis contributes to the investigation into an assumption that biological material from traces come from certain people. Then there was the grand finale. The moment we were all waiting for. As the truth about the victim’s murderers were revealed, I felt a sense of accomplishment through the details that matched my findings. Even though all my findings were not accurate, it gave me motivation to develop on my knowledge about the field forensics. All in all, I am extremely grateful for being given the opportunity to participate in this experience alongside the university staff, fellow students, and teachers as it has proven to be very beneficial.” (Prithvi)

“The Deakin forensic excursion was not only fun but gave us a good understanding of what the forensic field is like. On this excursion we were all given a murder case to solve and to help solve this there was a recreation of the murder scene to solve this murder case we had to analyze footprints, lift fingerprints, and look for clues in the murder scene. Here we leant how to tell between different types of handwriting and how everyone has their unique way of writing, we learnt how to tell how old a dead body was based on how old the maggots were. My favourite part was when we took DNA reports of blood from the crime scene and then compare them with a DNA report from all the suspects. This helped us see what the forensic field will look like because it was very real, and all the staff were very professional.” (Shriyans)

“I am grateful that we were all given the opportunity to go to Deakin University in Geelong and broaden our horizons as we learn more about Crime Scene Investigation as well as how forensic teams analyse evidence to determine facts and statistics to allow investigators to understand the story of what happened to keep us safe and uphold justice. We were given the chance to ‘live the life’ of a forensic scientist and see the methods that are used to uncover the truth of a scene. It was amazing to witness the story of Philip’s murder and learn the truth of what happened that day while also understanding the motives of the suspects and eventually learn, ‘who did it’. Once again, I am very grateful to be given the opportunity and chance to go to Deakin University and learn more about forensic science in a real life setting as well as understand the methods that are used to investigate a crime.” (Jason)

“Some students were chosen to participate in a forensic science excursion to Deakin University this term. The institution had a designated house set up as a crime scene for visiting students to explore. We closely inspected the crime scene, looking for critical pieces of information relating to the crime. In the lab, we checked for pollen, assessed powdered substances, examined DNA samples, and used the evidence to apprehend the murderer. We learned not just about the case, but also about forensic science and what forensic scientists perform in depth. This field trip was quite beneficial since it demonstrated how science is used in the real world. Overall, it was a fantastic experience that has prompted us to consider a future in science.” (Nikita)