About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 6602-6610
Publication year: 2010
ISBN: 978-84-613-9386-2
ISSN: 2340-1117

Conference name: 2nd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 5-7 July, 2010
Location: Barcelona, Spain


S. Strickland, N. Erturk

Converse College (UNITED STATES)
According to Science and Engineering Indicators (2008), almost 4 million students worldwide earned degrees in Science and Engineering fields in 2004. But according to the 2002 National Science Board Report, the United States alone will need to train and educate an additional 1.9 million workers in scientific fields by the year 2012. Therefore, the need to attract high school students to the STEM fields is a global challenge. We have developed and implemented forensic case studies that enhance critical thinking, increase interest, understanding and engagement toward science, and teach biology and chemistry concepts. This project targeted high school students (in a week long summer workshop) and non-major science students in corresponding college courses (during the semester). Case studies were designed in topics such as genetically modified foods, burglary cases, biological warfare and paternity. While working on these case studies, students assume the roles of experts in the forensic field to solve crimes and learn team work. They apply the skills and knowledge they have learned, interpreting data and using techniques involved for both chemical and biological analysis of evidence. Skills such as fingerprinting, forensic DNA analysis, basics of microscopy, basics of chromatography, spectroscopy, density analysis, blood typing, PCR, gel electrophoresis, and other related laboratory techniques as well as the biological and chemical principles behind those methods were taught. For example while studying blood typing to solve a burglary case students learn about blood antigen and antibody interactions, principles behind ABO/Rh blood typing, types of blood cells and the genetics of blood. During the same case study the students will also learn to analyze glass by using physical and chemical properties such as refractive index, density, color and chemical composition. At the end of the program, students are required to present one of the case studies in a poster format. We present a workshop on how to prepare a poster and work with the student groups as they prepare their posters for presentation. In our poster session, pairs of presenter groups stand near their posters, give a 3-5 minute oral presentation on their particular case study to the audience, and then answer questions during a 30 minute time slot as audience members circulate around the posters. Since poster sessions have a growing popularity in science symposiums and meetings, we believe this exercise will prove to be an important part of our students' scientific training. Our evaluations show that participants are well motivated and excited about science after being exposed to these case studies. Copies of our poster session training handouts and case studies are available for interested participants.
author = {Strickland, S. and Erturk, N.},
series = {2nd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN10 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-613-9386-2},
issn = {2340-1117},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Barcelona, Spain},
month = {5-7 July, 2010},
year = {2010},
pages = {6602-6610}}
AU - S. Strickland AU - N. Erturk
SN - 978-84-613-9386-2/2340-1117
PY - 2010
Y1 - 5-7 July, 2010
CI - Barcelona, Spain
JO - 2nd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN10 Proceedings
SP - 6602
EP - 6610
ER -
S. Strickland, N. Erturk (2010) TEACHING SCIENCE THROUGH FORENSIC CASE STUDIES, EDULEARN10 Proceedings, pp. 6602-6610.