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Cheryl A. Heinz
Assistant Professor
Department of Biology
Benedictine University
Darwin's Finches and Natural Selection 

In this "clicker case," students learn about natural selection through the research of Peter and Rosemary Grant and colleagues on the finches of the Galapagos Islands. Students are presented with data in the form of graphs and asked to determine what is happening to a population of finches as the changing environment produces changes in the shape of the finches' beaks. This case is suitable for any size course in introductory biology, ecology, or evolution, and does not require any pre-requisite knowledge of evolution or natural selection. The case consists of a PowerPoint presentation (~4.5MB) punctuated by questions that students answer in class using "clickers." It can be adapted for use without these technologies.

Nutrient Cycles and Pollution, Lake Michigan Style 

This “clicker case” introduces students to the basics of nutrient cycling using a recent example of the expansion of a refinery on Lake Michigan. The story is told through a series of news clips from Chicago’s National Public Radio affiliate, WBEZ, which covers the northeastern Illinois and northwestern Indiana region.  The case is presented in class using a series of PowerPoint slides (~3.7MB) punctuated by questions that the students answer using electronic personal response systems, or "clickers." The case was designed for use in an upper-level introductory ecology course. It would be equally well suited in lower-level ecology courses as well as environmental science courses, and in an introductory biology course that covers nutrient cycles and/or pollution.