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Reading College students investigate a fake crime scene

Students sat on steps looking at laptop

The foyer at Reading College was turned into a fake crime scene on Thursday 24 March as part of a project-based learning exercise. 

Students studying Applied Science and Forensic Science programmes were given a scenario that a member of staff had been murdered the night before, when adult learners were conducting evening classes, after they had confronted the perpetrator about stealing some science equipment.  

As part of the activity, students were asked to photograph the scene to collect evidence, interview Pete Darling, Group Student Security Liaison Advisor who was pretending to be a witness, walk around the ground floor of the college on King’s Road to identify all the exits and CCTV cameras and create a crime scene board to help them solve the case.  

Students were then asked to consider who the suspect could be, what evidence they could use to catch the killer, what forensic examinations would be needed or conducted, who else they could interview to help them unravel the mystery. 

The activity helped our students to put their knowledge into practice and gave them a glimpse of what it’s like to investigate a crime scene. 

What our students thought 

Aakriti Limbu is studying an Applied Science Level 3 Extended Diploma at Reading College.  

She said: “The PBL project helped me associate forensic science working with laws and science. It helped me to be more active in talking with my former classmates and learn to enjoy science more and explore new roads.”  

Kelsey Bedwell is studying a Forensic Science Level 3 Extended Diploma at Reading College.  

She said: “The forensic case study allowed us to grasp at an insight of what our chosen career will blossom into. Attending a mock crime scene with forensic PPE, we were able to take steps in uncovering the story, learning how the investigative process begins.  

“It’s practical activities like this which makes studying forensics fun. The next stage involving a witness interview of the crime and using location, aided us to start creating a crime board of our evidence, taking us one step closer to solving the crime.” 

Daniel Nield, Faculty Manager at Activate Learning, said:

“Students studying our applied science and forensic science programmes were asked to investigate the scene of the crime in the Reading College reception last week.  

“This is where they could put their knowledge into practice with photographing the scene, gathering evidence and interviewing witnesses.  

“They will now be moving onto fingerprint analysis, DNA analysis and trying to solve the case.” 

Why project-based learning is important    

Project-based learning helps students to gain knowledge, skills and attributes by working for an extended period to investigate and respond to a complex question, problem or challenge.   

These projects are designed to help students to think critically and develop problem-solving, teamwork and self-management skills. 

Find out about our A Levels, Science and GCSE courses.  

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