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A Struggle for Power in China: The Three Gorges Dam
The Three Gorges Dam in China is one of the world's largest hydroelectric dams, providing energy for millions of people. However, the dam's construction forever altered the Yangtze River ecosystem and the lives of local residents. In this case study, s...

An Electrical Storm on the Horizon
In this fictional case study, the state of Oklahoma has profited by giving incentives for companies to build power plants in rural areas of the state. The "scrubbing" systems used to minimize air pollution create potentially hazardous solid waste. ...

Dredge Today, Restore Tomorrow
In this case study, students role-play members of a task force whose task it is to advise the Director of the National Park Service (their instructor) on the best location for creating a wetland using dredge material from the Potomac River.  Stude...

Ethanol or Biodiesel?
In this case study, two students have been asked to conduct a “systems analysis” study to determine whether ethanol derived from corn or biodiesel prepared from soybeans is the more energy efficient alternative fuel. The students must inves...

Farming in Space
If you were limited to choosing only three crops to sustainably farm in an arid, inhospitable environment, what would they be and how would you decide? This interrupted case study places students in the role of a proposed self-sufficient Martian colony...

Farmville Future?
Life has changed for the rural residents of Farmville County since the arrival of four concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs); the air has an odor, wildlife has decreased, and illnesses are on the rise. One of the town's residents has become ac...

Get the Lead Out!
This case study, developed for a general chemistry course, is intended to teach students the interdisciplinary nature of environmental science. Students take on the role of environmental chemists.  Using atomic absorption spectroscopy, they test f...

Global Climate Change: Impact and Remediation
This “clicker case” is a continuation of another case in our collection, “Global Climate Change: Evidence and Causes,” in which students assumed the role of an intern working for a U.S. senator so that they could advise the sena...

Losing the Farm
In this case study, students examine hydrologic characteristics of a real farm property in northwest Georgia and calculate the volume of storm runoff expected for a typical storm using the U.S. Soil Conservation Service (SCS) method. The case is used t...

No Longer Fond of the Local Pond
When an elementary school teacher calls in sick to work, she finds out that she is not the only one who will be missing school that day.  Children from her fifth grade class have also become ill and parents are calling to report the absences. The ...

On a Wing and a Prayer
The essential elements of this dilemma case are based on a real-life wetland mitigation problem. A biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has to decide whether to improve a wetland adversely impacted by toxins or restore another site instead...

Salton, A Sea of Controversy
The Salton Sea is an “accidental” lake that receives used irrigation water from the Colorado River. Humans have profoundly altered the area’s ecosystems. The Salton Sea is important for wildlife and recreation, but is now saltier than...

The Dangers of Deicing
Loss of species richness is often due to anthropogenic activity. The global decline of amphibians is one such example. This case study examines the impact of road deicing agents on amphibians living near bridges and roads treated heavily with salt duri...

The Fate and Transport of Toxic Releases
The release of toxins into the environment and the federal government's tracking of that using the Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) compiled by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are the focus of this case study, which uses GIS to explore...

The Flint Water Crisis
The water crisis in Flint, Michigan, provides a compelling context for understanding the importance of each of the major classes of chemical reactions: precipitation reactions, acid-base reactions, and oxidation-reduction reactions. Each of these react...

The Rocky Mountain Locust
This case explores conservation and social issues associated with the destruction of vast tracts of farmland in the Great Plains in the late 1800s caused by massive swarms of the Rocky Mountain Locust, Melanoplus spretus. The case was develope...

The Water in Weberville
This case study presents a realistic example of drinking water contamination within a fictional local community and leads students through an abbreviated human health risk assessment. Students are provided background information about the extent of the...

To Be or Not To Be a Golf Course in Wimberley?
This interrupted case study examines the tensions that a small town in Texas faces between economic development and the preservation of a natural water resource for which the town is known. It highlights the interdependence and tensions between economi...