One hundred student sleuths from across the eastern seaboard are gathering in Armidale this week to tackle murder, mystery and mayhem at a unique immersive science camp.
Officially starting yesterday (6 July) and running until Saturday 9 July, the 19th annual Forensic Science Camp at The Armidale School has this year attracted 32 boys and 68 girls from 41 schools in Victoria, NSW, ACT, Qld, and even a student from United World Colleges South East Asia, Singapore.
During the camp, the participants, Year 8 students with ain inquiring mind, work in groups to 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, teams present their committal cases to a legal professional who determines if they are strong enough to go before a court. The camp is run by older students from a range of schools who have previously taken part. The ‘controllers’ started developing their scenarios in November, whilst a management team organise the logistics including recruitment, catering and organising accommodation on campus. They came together at a management camp in January, but otherwise have been corresponding by email, for almost 12 months.
Sydney Boys’ High School student Archie Woodhouse is at his third camp, and is this year co-ordinating social events and offering “scenario support” to the controllers.
“It’s so unique. The scenarios seem so real to the campers, who really enjoy being challenged by the scenarios,” he said. “We’ve organised things like a trivia night, space jump and have a ‘compulsory fun’ session every day to relieve the stress of problem-solving and get them to enjoy each other’s company in a fun way.”
Jaida Trigg, from Loreto College Ballarat, is relishing the challenge.
“It’s really intriguing, we’re learning lots of new things all the time, it’s set up really well and the lab staff are really helpful,” she said. “It’s cold, but I’m making heaps of new friends and just having a fabulous time.”