Scientists in Schools

CSI: Murgon

  • Barbara Etherington, Murgon State High School, Queensland
  • Chris Vohland, Queensland Medical Laboratory (QML) Pathology Labs

A Scientists in Schools partnership transformed year 12 Multi-Strand Science students at Murgon State High School into crime scene detectives, when they were presented with evidence from a stabbing murder that needed to be solved.

Chris brought with him evidence of the murder, including a blood soaked shirt, different blood splatter residue samples, photographs of the crime scene, an autopsy report and an array of equipment to help in the blood typing challenge.

The students were involved in extracting different blood samples and testing to match the blood group of that sample. This allowed the budding CSI candidates to determine the blood group of the victim and the offender. They then used this information along with the autopsy and crime scene reports to determine the possible culprit.

Scientist with two students and a centrifuge

Chris’ visit was timely for the year 12 class, who were studying forensics and had been involved in activities such as ballistics, blood splatter, crime scene evidence collection and blood grouping.

“It is really good to be able to show students some of the different applications that QML Labs are capable of, and it is fantastic when we can fit it in with a unit that they are already studying,” Chris said.

Later in the year Chris arranged a tour of the QML central laboratory in Brisbane for year 11 and 12 Biology students. The students visited each department where they were introduced to a variety of equipment and quizzed the relevant Heads of Department on what each machine does and what life in a medical laboratory is really like.

This was followed by a visit to the Queensland Medical Museum at the University of Queensland. The students agreed the 14 hour day was well worth it!

Barbara and Chris plan to continue their partnership and would like the visit to QML to become an annual event.