Forensic science instructor Candice Chambers is a huge fan of using gaming as a learning tool.
“I try to gamify depending on what course I’m dealing with,” says Chambers, who teaches both forensic science and forensic anthropology courses online and in the classroom at NCSSM, and co-teaches an online epidemiology course with biology instructor Amanda Martyn.
Her most notable application of game mechanics to principles of science is “Skeleton Key,” a set of cards she created to simulate case studies in forensic anthropology.
“Sometimes you run across a scenario in forensic anthropology and don’t know what to make of it,” says Chambers, who began using the cards in her classes this semester. “Maybe it’s a mass grave, maybe not. Based on the variations in the scene, you should be able to identify it.”
To simulate the random samples that an actual forensic anthropologist might obtain, students pull cards from a deck of 52 playing cards. Chambers has created a specialized deck with pictures on it, but a regular deck, paired with Chambers’s guide for educators, also works.