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Division: B – Middle School

NC Essential Standards Alignment: 6.P.2, 8.P.1, Science as Inquiry

Event Rules: See National Rules

Event Score Sheet: Non

National Event Page: Here

Required Materials: Students must bring and wear goggles, an apron or a lab coat, and have skin covered from the neck down to the wrist and toes. Gloves are optional; but if a host requires a specific type, they must notify teams. Pants should be loose fitting; if the host has more specific guidelines they will notify teams in advance of the tournament. Shoulder length hair or longer must be tied back. Students who unsafely remove their safety clothing/goggles or are observed handling any of the material or equipment in an unsafe manner will be penalized or disqualified from the event.



NC Regional and State tournaments will only will be focusing on:
o Qualitative Analysis: solids and liquids
o Polymer Testing: recyclable plastics
o Paper Chromatography
o Crime Scene Physical Evidence:

  • Regionals will feature 2-3 out the following topics: fingerprints, shoeprints and tire trends, soil, and/or spatters.
  • State will feature 3-4 out of the following topics: fingerprints, shoeprints and tire trends, soil, and/or spatters.

Additional questions may be asked on general lab safety and procedure and
chemical and physical properties and common uses of the substances in part
3c and 3d.

For the Chemistry events, it states that teams may bring any or all of the items listed – are teams only permitted to have the checked items in their kits?  Or, may they have all items on the list even if they are not checked.
Teams may bring anything on the list whether it is checked or not.  The list is to help teams pare down the list a bit. 9V or less Conductivity testers are permissible, but not essential for the event.

The chemistry events now say the reference sheets MAY be sealed in a sheet protector or laminated. Do they have to be?

No, The difference between MAY and MUST is a big one in Olympiad.  Since this set of rules says “MAY be in a sheet protector”  – it means that it doesn’t have to be, but it is allowed if you want to use one. However, if the reference sheets are in sheet protectors, then the reference sheets MUST REMAIN in the sheet protectors. In addition, no additional notes or information may be written on the sheet protectors or laminated reference sheets.
The rules 2a are written for each participant. Therefore, a team of 1 participant can only have one reference sheet and one non-programmable, non-graphing calculator. A team of 2 participants can have two reference sheets and two non-programmable, non-graphing calculators.


Given a scenario, a collection of evidence, and possible suspects, students will perform a series of tests. The test results along with other evidence will be used to solve a crime. 

Event Leaders will provide a proper lab environment, all evidence to be tested, additional equipment necessary to perform tests on the evidence, the official test and answer sheet.


High score wins. Points are earned for proper identification of evidence as well as analysis of the crime. Ties will be broken by the best Qualitative Analysis (3.a.) score.  The only category that we aren’t covering in NC at Regionals is Part E, Chromatography for 5%, and since percentages are approximate, those points will end up distributed in other sections where it makes sense.

Common Mistakes:

– Be sure to follow all safety requirements! Safety issues will NOT be arbitrated.

– Event leaders will not answer questions on testing procedures (for example- how to perform a burn test on fibers) nor will they provide a copy of the rules or a list of the possible unknowns. Teams should already know procedure, and should include a list of the possible unknowns in their allowed notes if they cannot remember. Event leaders WILL answer safety questions, and stop students from performing a test in an unsafe manner.



Event Resources:

Crimebusters 2018 Coaches Clinic Presentation (2019 Rules)
Powder Analysis blank chart
Sample Forensics Flowchart
2017 Coaches Clinic Presentation

General sites on Forensics and Crime Busters
Real World—Articles on aspects of crime scene data collection
Links to forensic activities for students

Polymers and Fibers:
Microscopic Images of Fibers—search for the types of fibers and select the kind of microscopic technique for the image you want.
Animal Hair Images

Intro to Chromatography
Tutorial on Interpreting Mass Spectra
Mass Spectrometry 
Basic info Mass spectroscopy

Blood Information:
Electropherogram info

Sample Events: