Case Study: Lincoln Monopoly

College Science
School / Department (list all where collaborative across more than one) Chemistry
Project / Innovation Title Lincoln Monopoly
Start & End Dates (where applicable) Semester A (first run in 2020/21, now annual)
Project Lead Name Dr Hilary Hamnett
Additional Project Team Members n/a


Lincoln Monopoly is an outdoor formative game that third-year students in the School of Chemistry play as part of a module called FRS3056 Public Understanding of Forensic Science. It was introduced during the pandemic, as it was not possible to run any of our usual overseas field trips on the BSc (Hons) Forensic Science programme, and this game is mostly outdoors. There are usually 70–80 students in each cohort. The aim is for students to apply their knowledge of forensic science to situations that may involve members of the public, and to demonstrate their eye for detail.

Students can work individually or in teams to go around the Lincoln city Monopoly board in real life on foot. At some of the locations they are asked to find specific information or conduct a task or take a selfie (selfies of the whole team are requested at each of the four ‘gates’ in the city: Stonebow, Pottergate, Newport Arch and Exchequer gate). Answers and images are uploaded to a Blackboard quiz, which is formatively assessed and there is a prize for the top-scoring team. There is no time limit on the game and students are timetabled to complete it on the Thursday of the week of the Lincoln Christmas market. To take into account accessibility challenges and also the use of Blackboard on mobile devices whilst out and about, there is no prize for the ‘fastest team’. Teams can split up and go to different locations around the city separately, or stick together around the ‘board’. The Blackboard quiz is available in advance and all questions appear at once, so students can plan their route. The questions are based around forensic scenarios (such as a suspicious fire, a collision with a train, etc.), but also include questions about key landmarks and the history of the city.

Examples of tasks:

  • Test a sample of water from the Brayford Pool for cocaine with a point-of-care drugs test.
  • Take a selfie with a poisonous substance (plant, chemical, etc.) most students choose alcohol!
  • Count the number of CCTV cameras at the High Street level crossing and check a line-of-sight to confirm or refute an eyewitness statement.
  • Visit the law Court inside the Lincoln Castle grounds.
  • Take a photo of a swan on the Brayford Pool.

Student engagement is good with the quiz even though the game is formative, with more than half the cohort taking part in 2022/23. It is not always possible to predict what students will get out of an educational game in terms of learning outcomes, but feedback is positive with “the outdoor game” as a response to the module evaluation survey question “Things I enjoyed about this module and why…”


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