The case of the broken iPad: Busby STEM Week solves a mystery!

Issued: Thu, 12 May 2016 16:41:00 BST

As the pupils of Busby primary filed in it was easy to tell from the buzz of activity that this was no ordinary Monday morning.

Something had transpired in the gym hall and police tape sectioned off one corner. Wide eyed and excited, everyone wanted to know what the local police officer was doing there and who were these unknown faces around the school? Something strange had happened... An assembly was called and the children were told that an incident had occurred! An iPad had been broken! Who could be the culprit?

‘I had a feeling it might have been Mrs Garcia, but at first I thought it was our teacher Miss Harris as she speaks Italian and the note was written in Italian.’

Orchestrated by Principal Teacher of STEM, Lorna Aitken, the whole week was planned out with military precision. Enlisting the help of all teaching staff, STEM Ambassadors, parents and volunteers the school organised a full week of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths activities focusing on the investigation and other related topics. Lorna Aitken said:

“Busby Primary has always been a creative and fun place to be and this week was no exception. Our whole school CSI theme truly captivated all of the pupils and the staff had to continually remind the children that it wasn’t real! The STEM Committee were great as detectives, pulling together all of the results from investigations and sharing this with DI Hunter and PC Cunningham”.

The week centred on the idea of pupils conducting their own forensic investigation and included things like fingerprint analysis and making use of CCTV footage as evidence. Each year group was separated into different lines of enquiry such as P2 who looked for footprints and made up wanted posters while P4 took statements from possible suspects and dusted for fingerprints around the school.

The event was also greatly aided by the expertise of Tom Nelson, the Director of Forensic Services in Scotland. With over 36 years’ experience and having been the director for nine years, he was a valuable and knowledgeable addition to the investigation.

Yet, it was the young investigators who were the real stars of the week by solving the case of the broken iPad – Parent Support Advisor, Grace Garcia was indeed the culprit. One pupil said:

“This was the best STEM week ever; I was so excited to come to school”

Lorna Aitken said finally: “Huge thanks to the many STEM Ambassadors who added real life value to the investigations and provided video footage from their labs. We are also very lucky to have a supportive network of parents who came in throughout the week to share their job roles and their career paths that led them into these roles. We were really lucky to have Tom Nelson, from Police Scotland sharing his knowledge of forensics in Scotland”. 

If you would like help organising a STEM Week in your school then contact Science Connects at:

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