- Associated Press - Friday, December 19, 2014

GREENFIELD, Ind. (AP) - The princess of Morocco’s lavish diamond necklace is missing, but an assortment of Hancock County Girl Scouts are on the mock criminal case.

As part of an outreach program organized by Greenfield-Central High School science teacher Rebecca Schini, the girls are learning basic forensic science to track down the faux troublemaker, who scraped himself and left blood behind during his getaway.

Schini, who dreamed up the details of the crime, hopes the workshop that ended this week has helped entice young women to pursue careers in the sciences.

“We see a decrease in the amount of girls that go into engineering and also S.T.E.M. (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields,” she told the Daily Reporter (https://bit.ly/1w5KkaH ). “So, it’s to pique their interest.”

The program, held once a week for three weeks, commenced Dec. 4, when Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Detective Michelle Floyd described to the group how she uses science in her investigations.

Then, the Girl Scouts - armed with detective notebooks - began their own inquiries, analyzing blood samples (dyed water mixed with corn syrup), measuring the size of blood spatters, lifting fingerprints, conducting genetics tests and more.

On the second floor of the high school, they had fiber-analysis, blood, print and genetics labs at their disposal. Along with a handful of high school helpers, Schini supervised the experiments, which were not always the most tidy of tasks.

Second-grader Bailey Carpenter, 7, had black fingerprint powder smeared across her face like an NFL linebacker when she conducted tests with sixth-grader Emma Hilton, 11. The students said it was a messy job, but they were determined to get to the bottom of the whodunit.

“It’s fun,” Emma said. “We get to do science-y stuff.”

In the fiber-analysis lab, 12-year-old Sarah Warner, who attends Greenfield Intermediate School, watched as the high school students burned different types of fiber to show how each emits a different smell.

The workshop has changed how she feels about one of her school subjects.

“I wasn’t really into science at first, but now I’m kind of getting into it,” she said.

In another room, the Girl Scouts used a mixture of dish soap, salt and water to take the DNA out of a strawberry.

Schini said she has organized similar outreach programs for young girls in the area for several years, but the forensics program was her first time working with Hancock County Girl Scouts.

The event is a spinoff of a similar program she does at the high school. Schini’s biomedical innovation class analyzes a larger mock crime scene each year.

Parents in attendance seemed grateful for the effort.

“I think it’s pretty neat,” said parent Amanda Keeton, whose daughters, Rebecca and Esther, participated. “They’re learning something that they could go on to . do when they grow up.”

In all, about 40 Girl Scouts participated. They represented roughly 10 troops from across the county.


Information from: (Greenfield) Daily Reporter, https://www.greenfieldreporter.com

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