Bright minds engage in holiday criminal activity

Posted 4th July 2017

Murder, mystery and mayhem will be put under the microscope by almost 100 students from across eastern Australia at a unique immersive science camp this week in Armidale.

Starting today (4 July) and running until Saturday 8 July, The Armidale School Forensic Science Camp has this year attracted 96 boys and girls from 29 schools in NSW, Qld and the ACT.

Now in its 20th year – running longer than TV shows CSI, Law & Order and Bones – the camp has enduring appeal, according to this year’s camp director TAS Year 10 student Henry O’Neil.

“The camp is different to anything else anywhere, and continues to attract students with an inquiring mind who are interested in a challenge. They learn all sorts of professional skills such as cryptography, fingerprint analysis and DNA, blood and fibre tests to solve their crime, working with new people from across the eastern seaboard,” Henry said.

“They also develop skills in teamwork, communication and problem solving and there’s a real sense of accomplishment in solving their crime.”

While the 96 ‘detectives’ are all Year 8 students, the scenarios have been developed by a dozen Year 9 students (‘controllers’) from a range of schools who attended the camp last year and began working on their ‘crimes’ in November. A management team of four older students organise the logistics including recruitment, catering and organising accommodation on campus.

”You get to study things over a period of time that you otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity to do,” said fellow camp manager Ishani Gangopadhyay from Sydney Girls’ High School.

“It’s also got a really good social aspect, making friends with a variety of people with similar interests.”

The camp culminates on Saturday when teams present their committal cases to a legal professional (Armidale solicitor Michael Dennis) who takes on the role of a magistrate and determines if the cases are strong enough to go before a court.


Henry O’Neil, Liam Smith, Daniella Cham and Ishani Gangopadhyay (obsc) prepare to welcome students from across eastern Australia to this year’s TAS Forensic Science Camp

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