Call it life imitating art, as a Drake University professor used the premise of a popular t-v show to spur the interest of her students. Professor LaRhee Henderson was looking for a way to challenge students in her advanced biochemistry lab. So she borrowed a page from the script of the popular crime show “C-S-I”, and staged a break-in at her office.She says it allowed them to wrap up the techniques used all year long into the crime story. Henderson’s crime involved someone breaking into her office, taking grades from her computer, and then trashing her office. Students then had to find the suspect with evidence left at the scene. She says they left clues, and the students had to analyze them to find the culprit. Henderson says it didn’t take much change to add the “C-S-I” theme to the course.She says the basic goal is to get the students familiar with the techniques and the chemistry behind the techniques, and adding in the crime scene just made it a little more fun. Henderson had to do some investigating of her own, as she says she’s not a big C-S-I fan. She watched a few episodes to get the a feel for what it was like. She says they do present some interesting techniques, but she says the show does give the impression that one person does all the tests immediately to solve the crime. She says in real life many people do different tests, and it takes longer than an hour to solve a crime. Henderson says the show has peaked the interest in chemistry. She says when prospective students visit, they ask what the need to do for a career in forensics, and she says her students are taking more time to check and double check their work. She says they even ask to do more tests. Henderson and fellow instructor Charm Russell just wrapped up their latest class.
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