New search
download case
  • Overview
  • Teaching Notes
  • Answer Key
  • Comments/Replies

Fecal Coliforms in Antarctica



Author:

Stephen C. Nold
Biology Department
University of Wisconsin-Stout
nolds@uwstout.edu

Abstract:

In this interrupted case study, students explore the environmental consequences of Antarctic research as they design experiments to assess the impact of disposing untreated sewage from a research station into the ocean. Students review experimental methods to measure coliform bacteria, examine data, and decide what actions, if any, should be taken. The case can be used in either a non-majors course in science literacy or a general microbiology class studying bacterial detection methods. For non-majors, the instructor would emphasize the mechanics of data collection and analysis and may touch on the environmental implications of finding fecal coliforms in Antarctic waters. For microbiology students, the instructor would highlight the bacteriology and pair the case with a lab.

Objectives:
  • Learn about experimental design (appropriate use of controls, data collection, data interpretation).
  • Understand how scientific data inform policy makers.
  • Learn about fecal coliform detection methods.
  • Raise environmental awareness.
Keywords: Microbes; coliforms; fecal coliform; enteric bacteria; sewage; growth media; sampling protocol; experimental design; McMurdo Sound; Antarctica; Greenpeace
Topical Area: Ethics, Policy issues, Scientific method
Educational Level: High school, Undergraduate lower division
Formats: PDF
Type/Method: Dilemma/Decision, Interrupted
Language: English
Subject Headings: Microbiology   Biology (General)   Science (General)  
Date Posted: 08/27/02
Date Modified:
Copyright: Copyright held by the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science, University at Buffalo, State University of New York. Please see our usage guidelines, which outline our policy concerning permissible reproduction of this work.

Teaching Notes


Case teaching notes are password-protected and access to them is limited to paid subscribed instructors. To become a paid subscriber, begin the process by registering here.

Teaching notes are intended to help teachers select and adopt a case. They typically include a summary of the case, teaching objectives, information about the intended audience, details about how the case may be taught, and a list of references and resources.

  Download Teaching Notes

Answer Key


Answer keys for the cases in our collection are password-protected and access to them is limited to paid subscribed instructors. To become a paid subscriber, begin the process by registering here.


  Get Answer Key
Showed the Werner Herzog Film Encounters at the End of The World. Excellent film created tremendous interest in the problems of human influence in a “pristine” setting. Student worksheets were easy to follow and adapt. Loved it.


James Gilham
Science
Design & Achitecture Sr. High
Miami, FL
gillie@dadeschools.net
2/23/2010
I used the case in a majors general biology course to introduce our study of bacteria. Our next lab will be bacterial morphology, culture, and water quality testing for coliform. I thought this lab was a great way to introduce the concepts and application in a realistic context. I used it as written and students responded to it very well. They enjoyed the analysis and discussion but felt that they would have liked more time (our class periods are 55 minutes). I too felt like we could have used more time—there is no reason we can’t discuss this further next class. I also think with more experience I will get better at facilitating the discussion.


Monica LeClerc
Lab Science
Jefferson Community College
Watertown, NY
mleclerc@sunyjefferson.edu
2/11/2004



Name:
Email:
Department:
Institution:
City State:
Comments:
security code
Enter Security Code: