Juniors and seniors from Firelands High School used the tools of science and the Lorain County Community College biology lab to crack a mock murder mystery.
The high school students are enrolled in LCCC’s Anatomy and Physiology II course (Biology 122) through College Credit Plus at Firelands High. The course is team taught by Firelands teacher Steve Lias and LCCC biology professor Kathy Durham, Ph.D. Lias leads the class daily inside the high school building, and in the evenings students watch Durham’s lecture videos. Durham visits the class a few times during the semester and then hosts the students for a campus tour and a hands-on learning session at LCCC.
“Bringing the students on campus and getting them in our labs shows them a new world of possibilities in the sciences,” Durham said. “They see what’s available and they see that they can do it all here at LCCC.”
Durham presented the students with a murder mystery in which they had to use DNA to identify the killer. The process included careful manipulation of each DNA sample before inserting the samples into a gel. The samples were then placed in a machine that caused each DNA sample to form a unique pattern.
“This is a lot of fun and it’s really interesting,” Nicholas Squires, a senior from Amherst, said about the experiment.
Squires decided to take the CCP biology course to challenge himself in his final year of high school.
“It’s senior year and I am taking some harder classes. It’s a challenge but I like the blended format. We watch the videos at night and then we can come in to class and have it explained again,” he said. Squires has taken two other CCP courses.
Jenna Pleban, a senior from Wellington, said she enrolled in the class because it piqued her interest.
“I have always wanted to learn anatomy, so I thought this would be fun,” she said. Pleban has earned about 14 college credits so far through the CCP program.
For Demetria Nicolaou, the class is interesting but it’s also part of a bigger plan.
“I want to be a nurse, so this class is a requirement,” she said.
Nicolaou has earned LCCC’s Trustee Scholarship and will begin nursing courses in the fall. After earning the associate degree nursing, she plans to transfer to The University of Toledo to work toward a bachelor’s degree in nursing. She has taken three CCP courses. “Everything is coming together,” she said.
Offering CCP courses in the high school can make it a smoother transition once students begin college, Lias said.
“It’s the best of both worlds. The students can earn credit and see what college is like but they also have the care and guidance of a high school instructor,” said Lias, who is also an adjunct faculty member at LCCC.
“Right now, it’s nearing the end of the school year and kids want to slack off. This class shows them that in college courses you have to strong until the end,” Lias. “This is a hard class, but students are doing the work and they’re learning the right way to handle a college course.”
For more information about College Credit Plus, visit www.lorainccc.edu/ccp.