Competition - forensic science for students

Forensic Outreach, an online platform that focuses on public engagement in security and crime science, has collaborated with an FBI cryptanalyst and leading science education provider Ward’s Science to create a unique codebreaking competition that aims to inspire students around the world to learn more about cryptology and forensic science.

Forensic Outreach has developed the programme with Ward’s Science and FBI codebreaker, Deneen Hernandez, ensuring that the innovative curriculum includes immersive and realistic experiences that offer students the opportunity to explore the life of a detective.

Schools across the globe are invited to take part by creating their own teams of students. Teachers will download three lesson plans to administer to their school group over a six week period. The plans include a specially-designed curriculum for each lesson before delving into deeper science and codebreaking questions to draw interest and engage students to learn more about the subject.

Aimed at ages 11 to 18, the lesson plans focus on three subjects: forensic science, mathematical foundations of codebreaking, and codebreaking and art history. Running for six weeks between April 14th and May 23rd, the competition is coordinated by Forensic Outreach through an online platform.

At the end of the third lesson plan,the teams will be asked to answer a series of challenge questions; answers are submitted through Forensic Outreach’s online portal. Challenge questions will be judged by an in-house panel of experts and the winners will be decided by Forensic Outreach with generous prizes including curriculum kits, multimedia bundles, poster sets and complete forensic science libraries, provided by Ward’s Science.

Deneen Hernandez, FBI cryptanalyst, said: “This competition is a fantastic way to engage students in the areas of codebreaking and forensic science— and help them get their feet wet. Hands-on, practical activities are the best way to learn if we’re educating budding practitioners. Assisting with the development of the lesson plans as a Forensic Outreach volunteer was certainly an exciting way to contribute to the knowledge of future examiners.”

She continued: “My law enforcement background and training as an examiner allowed me to provide students with challenges that are perhaps rarely seen in the typical science classroom. I’m confident that this competition will bring these concepts a little closer to a new generation of scientists.”

Registration opens on 17th March and the competition begins on the 14th April. The winners will be announced on

Friday 30th May. Visit for more information.