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Better Cheddar
In this case study students assume the role of quality assurance personnel at a small artisan cheese company. They are given a flowchart of the cheesemaking process and a set of process data. They must develop control charts to monitor process quality ...

Chuck A. Luck Wagers a Buck
This directed case study, based on a question asked in a newspaper column about a popular carnival game of chance, was developed for an undergraduate course introducing probabilistic models. Students answer questions that explore both correct and incor...

Concentrating on Whey: The Use of Statistics in Process Control
This interrupted case study follows the progress of Kenny, the head operator for a whey protein processing system, as he works with Cheryl, a quality management specialist, to implement control charts to monitor process variables. Students assume the r...

Eating PCBs from Lake Ontario - Is There an Effect or Not?
This case is based on an actual news release reporting on research about the effects of eating Lake Ontario fish contaminated with PCBs. Developed to teach students about statistical analysis and experimental design, the case has been used in a senior-...

Eating PCBs from Lake Ontario - The Clicker Version
This is a “clicker” adaptation of another case in our collection, “Eating PCBs from Lake Ontario: Is There an Effect or Not?” (2001), written by the same author. It encourages students to examine how scientific results get prese...

Experimental Design and Statistical Analysis
This case is based on a research paper about the lignin content of genetically modified corn published in the American Journal of Botany. Students are asked to analyze and discuss the paper, focusing on questions related to experimental design...

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...

Is the Data Dirty or Clean?
This case study challenges students to differentiate between anecdotal evidence and science-based evidence related to human health. The case uses a "flipped" approach in which students watch two preparatory videos prior to attending class. The fir...

Lady Tasting Coffee
In the 1920s, biologist and statistician Ronald Fisher met a woman who claimed she could taste whether a cup of tea was prepared by adding milk before or after the tea. Fisher’s essay about the tea party may be one of the first cases published to...

Markov vs. Markov
In this directed case study, students build a Markov chain probability model of marriage and divorce using statistics - the chance of divorcing in a given year and the chance of divorcing eventually - taken from an article on the divorce rates. Develop...

Mathematically Modeling Aircraft Fuel Consumption
The problem studied in this case deals with the identification of potential ways to lower fuel consumption in a 737 aircraft. Students are presented with actual flight data, such as fuel weights, passenger loads, fuel consumption, trip mileage, and tri...

Mathematics in Conservation
This interrupted case study teaches probability theory and transmission genetics through their application to the conservation of the endangered Florida panther. An endangered population is unlikely to survive simply due to its small population size. B...

Mini Cases on Choosing Appropriate Statistical Tests for Ecological Data
This set of mini cases on the ecology of eastern cottontail rabbits is designed to give students practical experience using statistics in a scientific context. Given a dataset and experimental design, groups of students are asked to play the part of a ...

One Bad Apple
In this case study, students assume the role of a quality assurance (QA) technician who is working on finding the root cause of customer complaints for apple cider.  Students will critically examine the sampling practices for the apples used for p...

Packing Pickles: Picking and Performing a Statistical Test
Based on a true story, this case study was created to teach students how to perform statistical tests and determine whether a significant difference exists between two sets of data. Students are faced with the task of assisting Jeff, the manager of a p...

Potato Chip Problems
In this case study, students assume the role of a quality assurance team that is in charge of determining potential causes and solutions for potato chip bags that open during the shipping process. Students will use basic quality control tools to evalua...

The Company’s Best Yogurt
In this case study, students assume the roles of research and development personnel in a dairy company that is developing a low-fat yogurt. Guided by research provided by the company's marketing department, students must select attributes of the yogurt...

The Hunger Pains
In this interrupted case study, good friends Sara and Mallory discuss Sara's recent healthy weight loss and her difficulty in maintaining her desired weight. Sara recently heard about a hormone, ghrelin, and wonders if that chemical may have something ...

Unintended Consequences of Plant Domestication on Plant-Insect Interactions
This case study investigates how plant domestication sometimes produces unintended consequences for plant-insect interactions. The narrative follows a boy in middle school, Podrick, who goes on a class field trip and notices that there are no caterpill...

What Are the Odds? A Cupcake Mishap
"Gerri" is the owner of a local bakery that specializes in cupcakes. Her assistant, "Kelsey," is preparing an order for a wedding when she discovers that she has lost her ring and can't find it anywhere in the kitchen. Since the ring had been loose on ...

Which Came First, the Mutation or the Antibiotic?
This case study presents the story of Phil, an undergraduate majoring in biology, whose Russian cousin Dimitri has contracted tuberculosis (TB) from inmates at the prison where he works.  Phil learns that his cousin's failure to complete his antib...