The camp was first held in 1994 and attracted widespread interest after featuring on the former ABC TV science show Quantum.Such has been its success that each year it regularly attracts more than 80 bright Year 8-9 students from Brisbane to Ballarat, and many places in between.Boys and girls, from both government and independent schools in the city and the country, are divided into groups of four detectives. They then solve fictitious felonies using a range of forensic techniques, including microscopy, chromatography, fingerprint analysis, cryptography and general science.
They analyse the evidence, identify and interview the suspects, order medical and scientific tests and search criminal databases. On the final day of the camp, a local magistrate conducts a ‘court case’ in which the teams had the chance to convict their suspect.The scenarios are developed by ‘Camp Controllers’, former participants who lead the camp. Scenarios use procedures including blood typing, fibre testing and soil analyses to solve a range of crimes, from theft, to vandalism and murder.Participants develop skills in logic and organisation, using technology and forensic science – and it’s a whole lot of fun. However it is not so much about criminology as about giving bright students an irresistible platform in which they learn how to use logic and organisation to solve complex problems, in groups.
More about the 2017 Forensic Science Camp can be found here.