Nov. 2, 2009
Jeremy Craig, 404-413-1357
ATLANTA - There will be murder afoot in a laboratory of Georgia State this week. But don't worry - it will be all part of a play that will help educate teachers about the biology and physics of forensics, providing information about a field which is getting high school students excited about science.
Georgia State University's Bio-Bus Program is sponsoring a workshop Nov. 5-6 at the university's Natural Science Center, designed to help teachers prepare for bringing the science behind shows like CSI to students.
"Teachers can convey to their students that the science behind the forensics on TV is not hard," said Dana Brown, lab coordinator for the program. "It's something many students see on TV, and you have to dispel what is not correct. But it's also something that's fun for the students and is fun for the educators to teach."
Teachers will learn the basics about the technology used to help solve crimes, such as DNA testing, fingerprinting and ballistics, and will also receive tips on how to create lesson plans for their own courses in forensic science, receiving a college-level textbook to help provide the basis for their plans.
Twenty-four teachers from across Georgia and even North Carolina will participate in this year's workshop.
The workshop is organized by Jane Burke, a master teacher from Henry County, and Greg Hampikian, director of the Idaho Innocence Project, expert for the Georgia Innocence Project and professor at Boise State University in Idaho. Hampikian, formerly at Clayton State University, started the murder-mystery more than a decade ago while teaching molecular biology to educators as a way to spice up course materials.
Other participants in the workshop include experts from nearby Fort Gillem and from Bio-Rad Laboratories, which is providing kits and the expertise of a third instructor, Sherri Andrews, to help teachers solve forensic mysteries.
The Bio-Bus Program helps to enhance science education in Georgia. In addition to this teacher workshop, the programs provide hands-on science activities and demonstrations to students from kindergarten through the 12th grade through a self-contained, mobile laboratory. Funding has been provided by the National Institutes of Health and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
More about the Bio-Bus Program is available online at www.biology.gsu.edu/bio/industry/bio-bus.