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CSI-style investigation into ‘stolen funds’ by Bethnal Green’s Morpeth school pupils

PUBLISHED: 16:48 11 October 2017 | UPDATED: 11:29 16 October 2017

Whodinnjit? Morpeth pupils on the crime scene trail. Picture: Kingston Universirty

Whodinnjit? Morpeth pupils on the crime scene trail. Picture: Kingston Universirty

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Pupils turned detective in east London when they tackled the mystery of finding out who stole money collected for a school party.

Kingston University's 'lab on a lorry' visiting Morpeth Secondary School. Picture: Kingston Universirty Kingston University's 'lab on a lorry' visiting Morpeth Secondary School. Picture: Kingston Universirty

The ‘whodunnit’ formed part of a CSI-style forensic science lesson at Bethnal Green’s Morpeth Secondary, given by Kingston University students in their ‘lab in a lorry’ parked in the school playground.

The mobile lab is used by the university in schools, colleges and community groups for ‘taster’ sessions in science, technology, engineering and maths.

Pupils were given the scenario of £300 being stolen from the headteacher’s draw, following a break-in.

The evidence they had to work with was broken glass from the door to the head’s office, an ‘IOU’ left by the culprit, the pen used to write the note and fingerprints left at the scene of the crime.

Young sleuths testing DNA from strawberries in the Morpeth school playground. Picture: Kingston Universirty Young sleuths testing DNA from strawberries in the Morpeth school playground. Picture: Kingston Universirty

The Year 7s set about the task using finger printing techniques, chromatography and seeing how light interacts with different types of glass.

They discussed the DNA evidence left at the scene and even extracted some from strawberries, as well as trying thermal imaging detectors used to catch criminals red handed.

“The pupils focussed intently on the task,” explained their science teacher.

“It was pleasing to see the extent they got to grips with the science involved.

It's a fair cop... Morpeth pupils learning crime-bustimg techniques from a touring CSI-style crime lab. Picture: Kingston Universirty It's a fair cop... Morpeth pupils learning crime-bustimg techniques from a touring CSI-style crime lab. Picture: Kingston Universirty

“Our aim at this stage was to help them develop their practical and creative thinking skills.”

The ‘lab in a lorry’ project is used as an inventive way of getting pupils into science and engineering and to see how the subjects relate to the real world.

Kingston University has two mobile laboratories for use by schools and colleges to provide taster sessions for learners and to run science sessions for community groups like the Girl Guides.

They also appear at community events and science fairs like Stemfest and the Big Bang, using the latest equipment and staffed by university students studying science, engineering and maths.

The touring programme includes forensic CSI-style investigation using fingerprints, chromatography and light microscopes like the Morpeth visit.

Other themes are bridge building and testing and ‘heart and exercise’ showing the effects on blood pressure and cardiac rates of different animals.

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