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 Electrifying science activity day solves murder mystery

Studying static electricity with the aid of a plasma ball.

Electrifying science activity day solves murder mystery

University of Leicester opens its doors to schoolchildren for day of science fun and experimentation.

Issued on 25 June

A group of year 10 students from five schools in Birmingham made the trip to the University of Leicester for a fun day of ‘hands on’ science activities. The day started in the Centre for Interdisciplinary Science with a physics workshop where students carried out a variety of experiments with electrostatics. During this workshop the students had the opportunity to experiment with the Van de Graaff Generator, plasma ball and balloons and, in the process, learnt about the effects of static electricity.

After a short break for lunch students moved to the Department of Chemistry for a Murder Mystery session, using a variety of analytical techniques to solve a chemical ‘Who done it’. The students worked together in small groups using crime scene investigative techniques such as Infrared Spectroscopy, UV-Visible Spectroscopy and Mass Spectrometry to establish who had murdered Mr Blue and with what poison.

The students had a great day at the university, enjoying the chance to visit several departments to participate in the science practical activities. This gave them the opportunity to apply their scientific knowledge in a new and different setting.

Using a Van Der Graaff generator is a hair-raising experience for the students.

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