St Ives Pupils Solve Murder Mystery
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Pupils’ recent STEM lessons have centred around forensic science and the skills needed within the subject. Pupils have learnt to recognise and classify fingerprints by looking at fingerprint ridge patterns and zooming in on microscopes to see individual ridge characteristics within each pattern type. They have learnt to analyse hair and fibre sampling, by looking at visible characteristics, such as colour and thickness, as well as magnifying hair samples by one hundred with a digital microscope, enabling them to look at the structure of the hair and see how the nature of different parts, such as the cortex, helped identify hair of different species and identify humans. Lastly, they have been learning how to test synthetic blood using mock Anti-A serum, Anti-B serum, and Anti-RH serum to determine the blood type of each sample to build a picture of a possible scene and the victim / suspect.
With all these newly acquired skills, St Ives’ Head of STEM, Miss Smith, decided to create a murder scene and challenge the children to work out who committed the murder! Pupils were split into 4 groups with each group working together to gather as much evidence as possible from the scene, including fingerprints, fibre traces, hair and even blood for blood group testing (thankfully, synthetic!), as well as a rogue earring! Each group was given 5 minutes to examine the crime scene before they headed out to interview key suspects. Many of the staff were questioned – it was most disconcerting for them! When the children had finished their enquiries, the groups re-gathered to consult each other and the school’s ‘Chief of Police’, Miss Smith, before making their arrest. Two of the groups were convinced Mrs Owen, St Ives’ Head of Maths, had committed the crime, but the other two groups believed it was Senora Clutterbuck, St Ives’ Head of Spanish. On consultation and guidance from the school’s Chief of Police, the evidence was conclusive that the perpetrator was Senora Clutterbuck. Needless to say she spent the weekend in the St Ives County jail and was back teaching Spanish as usual at the start of this week!
Head Teacher, Mrs Kay Goldsworthy, said “STEM is a new subject within the St Ives curriculum and is already proving an excellent way of teaching teamwork, problem solving and critical thinking – all skills the children will need at secondary school and beyond. The topic on forensic science has proved especially popular and the murder mystery afternoon was a huge success. I was a little horrified that so many of the Year 6 pupils questioned me over the murder, but I have managed to forgive them …..mostly!”