13 Mar 2018
Royal Society of Chemistry awards Loughborough University £2,000 to inspire school pupils
The Royal Society of Chemistry has granted the University £2,000 to support a science project designed to engage school students.
‘Murder Mystery in a Box’ is a classroom resource created by Loughborough University staff in consultation with secondary school chemistry teachers.
It is designed to help better engage Year 10 students that live in areas of low progression to higher education.
Each box contains a lesson plan, presentation pack, worksheets and necessary equipment to deliver the activity in just over a half-day or in stages across multiple days.
The murder mystery theme sees students take the role of forensic scientists in a case about the suspicious death of a head teacher.
By working with magnetic powders to identify fingerprints and using chemicals to detect traces of blood, the pack gives students the opportunity to experience the real-life aspects of a career in chemistry.
It is hoped students will feel inspired by the lesson and will consider studying Chemistry at A-level and university.
Callum Crane, Laboratory Technician in the Department of Chemistry and creator of Murder Mystery in a Box, said: “I came up with the idea as it was based around my undergraduate field. The experiments are fun, interesting and allow the students to see the real world application of science to problem solving.
“The mystery solving element appeals to children’s curiosity and encourages them to think differently.
“I hope this fun, hands-on activity will inspire those who would not traditionally have thought of science as a subject they could enjoy, and thereby grab a much wider background of young people and draw them into higher education.”
Murder Mystery in a Box will also be used as a resource at the University’s annual STEM Community Day and other outreach events held at Loughborough to give pupils a glimpse of what a chemistry degree may entail.
The concept is part of a wider initiative delivered by the University’s School and College Liaison team – Subject in a Box – which provides a unique insight into a variety of subjects available to study in higher education. These cover subjects from business studies to sports science and are free for schools to use.
Murder Mystery in a Box Project leader Dr Sian Williams commented: “We are delighted to receive the Royal Society of Chemistry outreach funding, and it’s great to have the opportunity to be able to show pupils some of the applications of chemistry.
“Through utilising the Subject in a Box format in this way, we can enthuse children further afield in areas of the country that we wouldn’t usually be able to reach.”
The Royal Society of Chemistry Outreach Fund provides financial support to organisations that want to inspire the public with Chemistry.
This includes projects that target hard-to-reach audiences such as students, maximises engagement with the chemical sciences and offer pupils exciting opportunities and activities.