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Begin your unit on the structure, function and processes of DNA with a simulated crime scene to elicit student interest in learning about the DNA molecule! I introduce this crime scene situation on the first day of studying DNA then do a series of lessons on DNA structure and replication, all while the crime scene is set up in the classroom to keep my students engaged. The last day of the week, we do this fingerprinting activity to determine the murderer. I use stuffed animals as the "suspects," which makes this a light-hearted murder mystery.
On the activity day, an online simulation gives students a visual for the equipment and process that would be used in a forensics lab. Then, the process is simulated by a paper/pencil/scissors activity during which students make a DNA fingerprint of one of the suspects and compare it to the fingerprint of "blood" taken from the crime scene.
Teacher notes and keys are provided to carry out the activity!