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Using science to solve a murder mystery

Let’s Talk Science hosts their first ever high school student summer camp

July 16, 2015 — 

On July 8 – 10, 2015, a three-day interactive camp hosted by Let’s Talk Science (LTS), a university student volunteer group,  introduced eager grade 11 and 12 students to the University, its professors, and its science labs. The camp theme was a murder mystery, each day involved a different experiment, conducted in either the Chemistry, Biochemistry or Microbiology labs, to rule out possible suspects and solve the mystery. Experiments included: extracting caffeine, determining vitamin c concentration, streak plating bacteria cultures and completing a restriction enzyme digest. Approximately forty high school students from all over the city participated in the new initiative.

“I really enjoyed the Let’s Talk Science camp,” said Prasansa Subedi, a grade 11, Fort Richmond Collegiate. She adds, “It really gave me a much better idea of what direction I might go, and I think there is definitely a lot of opportunity for me to grow here at the University of Manitoba.”


Summer Camp participant, Prasansa Subedi, a grade 11 student from Fort Richmond Collegiate.

Jasmine Frost, summer camp coordinator, spent the entire year in-between classes organizing the camp. “I really wanted to do this, because I remember in my first year as a university student, I was completely overwhelmed, I didn’t know where anything was and had never been in a lab. This way students get a taste for what university is like, before they get here.” Jasmine recently graduated this past spring from the U of M with her B.Sc. and has since started a Masters degree in microbiology.

The entire camp was made possible thanks to many generous donors including; the Winnipeg Jets True North Foundation, and the Science Students Association.

This is just one of many activities that the Let’s Talk Science student volunteers put on throughout the year. Kirsten Chan, incoming LTS student coordinator, a recent B.Sc. graduate who is continuing her schooling in the Faculty of Education next year says because of the success of this camp; it is likely that it will be held again next summer.

Let’s Talk Science has been established at 40 universities throughout Canada. Its aim is to deliver meaningful, exciting hands-on/minds-on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) learning experiences to children and youth free of charge.


From L to R: Kirsten Chan, Elyse Remillard, and Jasmine Frost, Let’s Talk Science student volunteers, and camp coordinators.

“I have volunteered over the course of my degree with LTS because it’s very rewarding to be able to give back. Especially the activities geared to little ones, they are very cute and ask so many questions. It’s a lot of fun. Let’s Talk Science offers different types of volunteer opportunities to accommodate your class schedule and workload. You can choose how often to volunteer which is great when you are a full-time university student,” said Elyse Remillard, assistant coordinator, in her final year completing her B.Sc., with plans to continue her education and enrol in the Physician Assistant program, through the Faculty of Health Sciences.

Let’s Talk Science coordinators are looking forward to a busy and successful year ahead. The U of M began its partnership more than a decade ago and has grown to over 200 volunteers and reached more than 13,000 students in Manitoba in 2013-14.

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One comment on “Using science to solve a murder mystery

  1. J.A.Paterson

    Very glad to read about this important way to make science appealing to secondary school students. Congratulations to the co-ordinators and volunteers!

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