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Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) with Powdery Mildew Fungi


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Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) with Powdery Mildew Fungi

This exercise can be used to stimulate the investigative nature of learners as they use forensic plant pathology techniques to prove the learners' innocence in a mock murder investigation. Learners examine the cleistothecia of plant leaves infected with powdery mildew disease with a compound microscope to identify the type of appendages present. The fungi are identified to genus using the appendage type and the number of asci (spore-containing sacs) inside each cleistothecium using both a written and an illustrated key. Learners compare their samples to the evidence found at the scene of the crime to prove their own innocence. Note: This lab works best in regions that experience cold weather for part of the year.

Quick Guide


Preparation Time:
30 to 45 minutes

Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 11 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan, Simulation

Language:
English

Materials List (per group of students)


  • Four empty envelopes
  • Envelopes with pressed, dried, leaf material infected with powdery mildew and covered with cleistothecia
  • Pen or marker
  • Scissors
  • Paper (for key)
  • Several black permanent markers or wax pencils
  • Dissecting microscopes
  • Compound microscopes
  • Clear tape
  • Petri dishes
  • Forceps
  • Several microscope slides
  • Water in dropper bottles
  • Case Study Sheet
  • Forensic Key and Diagrams to the Genera of Powdery Mildew Fungi

Subjects


  • Life Sciences
    • Diversity of Life
      • Protists and Fungi
      • Classification
  • Mathematics
    • Data Analysis and Probability
      • Data Analysis
      • Data Collection
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data
      • Formulating Explanations
      • Communicating Results

Informal Categories


  • Crime Science
  • Nature and Environment

Audience


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities

Other


Components that are part of this resource:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access

By:

  • Ruhl, Gail

Rights:

  • All Rights Reserved, The American Phytopathological Society, ©2011

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