Dr. Earl N. Meyer, in the lab, with a scalpel: A murder mystery as a biochemistry recruitment tool
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Increasing student participation in science is an ongoing challenge for many universities. In this active learning workshop, centered on inquiry and teamwork, we introduce high-school students to biochemistry and molecular biology techniques using a murder mystery activity. During this intensive 3 hr workshop, we engage students in a murder scenario entitled "The Case of the Silenced Scientist." A commercially available DNA fingerprinting kit was used as a basis to create a customized scenario whereby students collaborate with one another to solve a murder mystery. Through analysis of DNA samples taken from the crime scene and suspects, students can identify the murderer while developing technical, teamwork, and critical thinking skills. Emphasis is placed on teamwork by immersing students in the collaborative process of research inquiry. Though short in duration, this workshop aims to build student relationships to science through creativity and exploration. In this article, we describe the key customized applications of this workshop as a blueprint for science recruitment. We focus on the workshop facilitators' perceived learning impact on students.
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