CSI College

A robbery at a research lab has been reported. The lab journal of a young scientist, containing confidential information is missing and tags have been removed from chemical bottles. Participants will collect and analyze evidence from the crime scene, such as fingerprints, clothing fibers, ink, fruit juice, (artificial) blood and DNA, using a series of scientific methods. Like real forensic scientists, they will make observations under the microscope, perform specific chemical reactions, run paper (2D) and column (3D) chromatography experiments as well as gel electrophoresis. The students will subsequently evaluate and combine their results to decide who is guilty among seven suspects.

REGISTRATION RESTRICTION: Students must be graduating grade 8 or above in June 2017 to be allowed to register for this workshop, since basic Chemistry knowledge is required.

Day by Day Schedule

Day 1
Course Introduction – Police report
Step #1: Students will investigate the crime scene and collect all existing evidence 
Step #2: Clothing fiber analysis (microscope & burning test) 
Progress: exclude 1 suspect

Day 2
Chemical analysis of pure compounds
Introduction & experiment description
Progress: put missing tags back onto correct chemical vials

Day 3
Chemical analysis of mixtures by chromatography – Introduction to technique & experiment description
Step #1: Paper chromatography of ink
Step #2: Silica gel column chromatography
Step #3: Validation of fruit juice type based on chromatograms
Progress: exclude 2 suspects 

Day 4
Quantitative chemical analysis – Vitamin C analysis in fruit juice 
Introduction to method & experiment description
Step #1: Measure vitamin C content in fruit juice
Introduction to DNA analysis & experiment description
Step #2: paper origami - DNA folding
Step #3: DNA extraction from fruit
Introduction to blood groups & experiment description
Step #4: Blood typing (artificial blood will be used)
Preparation of student presentation (part I)
Progress: exclude 2 suspects


Day 5
DNA gel electrophoresis
Step #1: Agarose gel preparation
Step #2: Gel electrophoresis
Step #3: DNA fragment evaluation
Progress: Identify criminal
Preparation of student presentation (part II)

Project Description

Students will perform a series of scientific experiments to discover who committed a crime, among several suspects. They will collect evidence from the crime scene, do fingerprint analysis, identify clothing fibers under the microscope, perform qualitative and quantitative chemical analysis, use chromatographic separation techniques, do blood typing experiments (with artificial blood), extract and analyze DNA. Participants will get familiar with basic principles of scientific research (methodology and practice), learning how to ask questions and run appropriate experiments to answer them.

Learning Objectives

In the CSI College workshop, students will learn how to tackle scientific questions like real researchers, get the facts, conduct experiments, collect and evaluate data. By the end of this workshop students will be able to analyze fingerprints and clothing fibers, do simple chemical reactions, separate compounds by chromatography, distinguish between different blood types, perform DNA extraction and electrophoresis.

Workshop Instructor