Skip to main content

Hissing Cockroach Murder Mystery

Activity Summary
Fabio, the world’s handsomest hissing cockroach, has been murdered by one of his terrarium mates. Only small bits of Fabio remain; the rest of his body has been devoured by the murderer. To find Fabio’s killer, students must compare Fabio’s DNA to DNA evidence collected from the suspects. Whichever suspect has Fabio’s DNA in his or her excrement is the hungry murderer. This series of 3 activities will familiarize students with modern DNA analysis, including DNA extraction, proper use of molecular biology equipment, and DNA gel electrophoresis.

Grade Levels

Learning Objectives
1. Describe the process of gel electrophoresis in his/her own words and explain how and why it works
2. Identify 3 potential uses of DNA analysis
3. Read the resultant gel and articulate the results of the DNA comparison

Lesson Materials (view or download)
Introductory PowerPoint – Day 1
Introductory PowerPoint – Day 2
Introductory PowerPoint – Day 2
Lesson Plan – Day 1
Lesson Plan – Day 2
Lesson Plan – Day 3

gel electrophoresis, PCR, DNA extraction, restriction enzyme

Last updated: 2/23/2015