Back Catalog


The cases listed and linked to below are what remain to be converted for inclusion in our new case database.  Conversion includes creating PDFs for both case and notes, indexing, and uploading into the new case database.  Converting these cases is an ongoing process; once converted, case are deleted from this listing.


  Gender: In the Genes or in the Jeans? A Case Study on Sexual Differentiation
William J. Hoese, California State University Fullerton, Judith Gibber, Columbia University, and Bonnie Wood, University of Maine Presque Isle
Teaching Notes for “Gender: In the Genes or in the Jeans?”
This case explores the biology of human sexual differentiation and its social and ethical ramifications. In working through the case, students learn how scientists use laboratory experiments on animals and “experiments of nature,” or conditions that occur naturally in humans, to help them understand human biology.
  In the Eye of the Storm: A Case Study in Natural Disasters
Rachael A. Lancor, University of Wisconsin—Madison
Teaching Notes for “In the Eye of the Storm”
This case study of Hurricane Katrina chronicles a college student’s adventures with the Hurricane Hunters, a group of people from the Air Force Reserve who fly into the middle of hurricanes to collect atmospheric data for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Students learn how to predict the path of the hurricane using satellite images and about physics concepts involved in hurricane formation, such as fluid dynamics and thermodynamics. Students also explore societal issues surrounding natural disasters. This case is intended for an introductory physics course, but has also been used for related courses, such as environmental geology.
  Alien Evolution: The Return of the Cambrian Explosion
Shoshana Tobias, University at Buffalo
Teaching Notes for “Alien Evolution”
In this case, which combines problem-based learning and role-playing, students research the environmental conditions of the Cambrian period and the types of organisms that developed during that time as they speculate about possible cases for the “Cambrian Explosion."
  Marketing Mostly Intangible Goods: The Case of Botanical Gardens and Arboreta
Jorge A. Santiago-Blay, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution
Teaching Notes for “Marketing Mostly Intangible Goods”
This case study illustrates some of the common social and economic problems facing botanical gardens and arboreta today. The case describes a conversation between Angie and Suzie, two long-time staff members at an unnamed botanical garden. The women are discussing the economic difficulties the garden is experiencing. Like so many others, this botanical garden has been losing funds. Students read the case and in small groups discuss the value of botanical gardens and arboreta as well as their mission and operation. They then prepare an oral presentation as well as a written outline of a grant proposal seeking economic support for a botanical garden or arboretum of their choosing.
  Watch Your Step: Understanding the Impact of Your Personal Consumption on the Environment
Philip Camill, Carleton College
Teaching Notes for “Watch Your Step”
This case makes use of the concept of the “ecological footprint," developed by Wackernagel and colleagues to quantify the amount of land area required to sustain the lifestyle of a population of any size. Students calculate their consumption of energy and materials to determine their personal ecological footprint and in the process learn about concepts of sustainability, ecological efficiency, and energy flow up food chains as well as the moral and ethical dimensions of how our lifestyles impact the Earth. The case includes an Excel spreadsheet for students to track their personal consumption of resources. Developed for an introductory biology course, the case could aalso be used in upper level courses such as ecology, conservation biology, evolution, diversity, and the biology of social issues, or in a non-majors biology course.
  Exotics
Darlene Panvini, Vanderbilt University
Teaching Notes for “Exotics”
This case examines the biological, ecological, social, political, and economic factors surrounding exotic species as well as the role of resource managers in shaping public policy on environmental issues. In addition to conservation ecology courses, this case would be appropriate for a non-majors science course, a bioethics course, or a majors biology course such as ecology.
  Dialogues as Case Studies : Endangered Species Act
Student papers by Andrew Abramowitz and Helena Bokobza
Students explore the issues surrounding the controversial Endangered Species Act in a series of “dialogue” papers over the issue of whether Atlantic Salmon in rivers in the State of Maine should be protected.
  Si el Norte Fuera el Sur: A Case of Squirrel Monkey Identities
Karin Gastreich, Duke University
Teaching Notes for “Si el Norte Fuera el Sur”
In this case study, students are given the task of developing a recovery plan to protect a recently discovered population of Central American squirrel monkeys on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. In the process they must determine whether the population is a separate species or related to another species of monkeys in the area.
  Something’s Fishy in Paxton Lake: Speciation in Sticklebacks
Joan Sharp, Simon Fraser University
Teaching Notes for “Something’s Fishy in Paxton Lake”
In this interrupted case study, students explore the mechanisms of speciation while working in groups to design a series of experiments to determine whether two populations of sticklebacks in Paxton Lake in British Columbia represent separate species or not. The case was designed for use in the final week of a general biology course organized around the general theme of evolutionary mechanisms and the history of life on earth.
  A Lake Runs Through It . . . Or Is It a River? Or Something Else?
Christine A. Lai, Daemen College, and Julio C. Rivera, Jr., Carthage College
Teaching Notes for “A Lake Runs Through It . . .”
In the late 1990s, the town of Tempe, Arizona, proposed developing the dry riverbed of the Salt River into a lake that would become a recreational and economic focal point for the city as well as a potential tourist destination. The project presented a number of challenges and issues. In this case study, students learn about, and then use, a marketing strategy analysis framework known as SWOT to analyze the project in terms of market opportunities and threats and organizational strengths and weaknesses. The case was developed for use in a course in economic geography, but could be adapted to courses in environmental science and urban planning/geography, for example.
  Does a One-Size Drug Dose Fit All?
Kathleen Boje, University at Buffalo
Teaching Notes for “Does a One-Size Drug Dose Fit All?”
The purpose of this case study is to make students aware that some patients may require individualized drug dosing regimens based on a variety of patient variables. It was developed for an introductory pharmaceutical sciences course but would be suitable for other students with a biological, biomedical, health sciences, or chemistry/medicinal chemistry background.
  Tazswana’s Story: How Alternative mRNA Splicing Leads to Genetic Disease and Cure
S. Catherine Silver Key, North Carolina Central University
Teaching Notes for “Tazswanas Story”
While students easily grasp the concepts of gene mutation, their effect on protein function, and their association with disease states, the concept of RNA processing is often foreign and less easily understood. In this directed case study, students read about a little girl with β-thalassemia, a life-threatening disease. Through a series of increasingly complex activities, they learn how alternative pre-mRNA processing (splicing) has caused her disease and how gene therapy that targets the process may provide a cure. The case was developed for a junior-level genetics course, but could be modified for use in a cell, molecular genetics, or molecular biology course.
  Niños Desaparecidos: A Case Study About Genetics and Human Rights
Katayoun Chamany, Eugene Lang College, New School University
Teaching Notes for “Niños Desaparecidos”
This case is based on the experience of 50 children who were displaced during Argentina’s “dirty war” of the 1970s, underwent DNA and protein analysis, and subsequently were reunited with their biological families. Students consider not only the genetic evidence but also the moral and emotional dimensions of these children’s stories. much of the resource material is in Spanish as well as English.
  Dialogues as Case Studies : Human Cloning
Student papers by Kabir Tambar, Rachel Juras, and John Tan
Students explore the issues of human cloning in a series of “dialogue papers” that present both sides of this controversial topic.
  Election 2000: A Case Study in Human Factors and Design
Ann M. Bisantz, University at Buffalo
Teaching Notes for “Election 2000”
The controversies surrounding the November 2000 presidential election, specifically the difficulties encountered in interpreting imperfectly punched ballots, provide the backdrop for this case. Developed for an upper-level undergraduate course in human factors/ergonomics, the goal of the case is to help students recognize how engineering solutions can be brought to bear to solve problems of national importance. The case would also be appropriate for use in an upper-level undergraduate course in human-computer interaction or user centered design.
  The Tokaimura Accident: Nuclear Energy and Reactor Safety
Michael E. Ryan, University at Buffalo
Teaching Notes for “The Tokaimura Accident”
The 1999 accident at the Tokaimura nuclear fuel processing plant near Tokyo is the context for a student discussion on nuclear power and the consequences of a nuclear accident. The case covers issues ranging from chemical process safety to risk management of chemical industries to the ethical responsibilities of the chemical engineer.
  A Light on Physics: F-Number and Exposure Time: A Case Study in Optics
Richard Brundage, St. Cloud State University
Teaching Notes for “A Light on Physics”
In this case, students working in teams “compete” to win a photography contest. The case uses optics to illustrate methods and applications of science to non-science majors.
  The Day They Turned the Falls On: The Invention of the Universal Electrical Power System
Jack Foran
This case details the history of the use of a natural resource, Niagara Falls, to generate electricity.
  Paired Associates Learning, the Shortfalls of Behaviorism, and the Rise of Cognitivism
Elizabeth J. Meinz, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
Teaching Notes for “Paired Associates Learning...”
In this interrupted case, students learn about a series of studies conducted in the late ’50s/early ’60s by Robert Young at the University of Texas at Austin. The studies, which explored the type of phenomena that behaviorism has had a difficult time explaining, were instrumental in the rise of cognitive psychology. The case was written for use in a cognitive psychology course, but could also be used in other psychology courses such as Introductory Psychology, History and Systems of Psychology, or other courses in which the contrast between behaviorist and cognitive explanations of behavior are discussed.