Game Using Chemistry Concepts to Solve a Forensics Case
ChemCollective’s freeMixed Reception game is set in a research group that is developing an antivenom for spider bites. In the opening scene, Nelson Pogline, a talented graduate student, dies unexpectedly at a university reception. In their role as detectives, students must use chemistry concepts to determine if he was murdered, and if so, to solve the case. They can interview suspects, investigate the crime scene for clues with virtual-reality images, and analyze the evidence from the crime lab. The activity requires basic knowledge of formula weight, chemical reactions, and the scientific method. Additional concepts include molecular recognition, limiting reagents, and mass spectrometry. The Flash-based software is suitable for chemistry students at the high school and college levels. ChemCollective developed the game with students from the Departments of Chemistry and Drama at Carnegie Mellon University. The game can be run from ChemCollective’s website or downloaded to a computer for offline use. It can be used as a homework assignment for individual students or as an in-class group activity. Solving the case takes between 40 and 50 minutes.
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