October 28, 2022

Organic Chemistry Lab Comes to Life

GCS Staff

Organic chemistry students test samples in a lab.


Upper School science students are learning about macromolecules found in living things. To bring the lessons to life, Annette Kelly, a biology teacher, created an autopsy lab where students use different reagents to test for carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins in various food samples. Students assume the role of organic chemists hired by the Howard County Medical Examiner’s Office to solve a mix-up with samples of stomach contents from five victims. The only information provided to students was the last meal of each victim, members of the Upper School faculty. The samples included jelly beans; a baked potato; Skittles; spaghetti with no meat sauce; a Big Mac value meal supersized with an extra order of fries, and a milkshake; and a very lean filet mignon. Students’ knowledge of organic chemistry enabled students to fill in the gaps and match the stomach contents samples with their “owners.”


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