Murder at Old Fields includes both a real-world kit and an online virtual lab activity. These are designed so that they can be conducted independently of one another or as a blended learning activity - a mix of both a real and a virtual experience.
For teachers who are using it as a blended learning activity, consider the sequence below as a suggested guide on how to do so most effectively.
- Start with the "Story of the Crime" lesson. This provides the foundational context for students as to the time and place of the crime and introduces them to the victims and the suspects. Teachers can do so either through the virtual lesson online or using the Student Booklet that comes with the kit.
- Next, have the students find all the evidence at the crime scene in the online virtual activity.
- Now, conduct the labs with the students. Present the lessons for each of the labs listed below in the classroom, using the booklet as a guide, and then have your students do the quiz that is associated with each lab online. When submitted, these online quizzes are auto-graded by the Murder at Old Fields function and are automatically added to the student's progress dashboard of their account.
- Hair Analysis Lab - real world. (If the students are having too much trouble seeing the characteristics of the hair through their microscope, you can always switch to the virtual lab, where the hair characteristics are easier to identify.)
- Fingerprint Analysis Lab - real world and virtual world. It's fun for the students to imprint their own fingerprints and investigate the characteristics of their own prints. But you may want to have the students study the control samples and the evidence for the Murder at Old Fields case investigation in the online lab.
- Blood Typing Lab - real world.
- DNA Analysis Lab - virtual world.
- Shoe Impression Lab - real world. Shoe Impressions is another fun lab activity for the students to do in the real world where they create plaster impressions of shoe prints.
- Blood Spatter Lab - real world. Blood spatter is not currently included as a lab in the virtual version of Murder at Old Fields and the experiments in the real world help the students to learn first-hand about fluid dynamics and some of the math associated with it.
- Pathology Lab - real world. Pathology is not currently included as a lab in the virtual version of Murder at Old Fields.
- When the students have completed all the labs, they should then do the "Choose the Culprit" lesson in the online virtual activity. By default, this lesson is disabled, and will have to be enabled through the Admin/Lesson Plan feature in the teacher's account dashboard in order for the students to be able to access this lesson. This short written report must be graded by the teacher via the teacher account. The student will be able to see the grade through their Student Account dashboard after it has been submitted.
- When the students have submitted their report as to whom they believe committed the crime and why, based on the evidence, they should then, as a summary, do the "Historical Documents" lesson online. As with the "Choose the Culprit" lesson, by default, the "Historical Documents" lesson is disabled, and will have to be enabled through the Admin/Lesson Plan feature in the teacher's account dashboard in order for the students to be able to access this lesson. This short written report must be graded by the teacher via the teacher account. The student will be able to see the grade through their Student Account dashboard after it has been submitted.
There are great advantages to conducting science lab activities with students in both the real world and the virtual world. Murder at Old Fields offers the opportunity to do both and following the sequence above will help teachers to do so with their students effectively.