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Jasmine D. Edgren
Undergraduate Student
Department of Biology
North Carolina Wesleyan College
Peek-a-Bamboo!: Embryonic Development and Toxins

This case study was written for an introductory course for biology majors who are first learning about embryonic development. The case is composed of several parts and involves a storyline about a team of researchers who find frogs and eggs in bamboo plants during a field study. Students consider what these observations mean, learn basics about the stages of animal embryonic development, and make connections to phylogeny and natural selection. Students then apply their understanding of animal embryonic stage development to the chemical atrazine in the environment by examining data from several experiments. As a concluding activity students write a letter to an agency or newspaper of their choosing stating their opinion surrounding the use of atrazine in the environment. The case proceeds in a progressive disclosure format and involves a combination of class discussion, small group work, and homework. Because the case focuses on very basic animal embryonic development, it would also be a great start to a developmental biology course or an embryology course.