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Amber's Secret


Lisa Marie Rubin
Formulary Management
VA Western New York Healthcare System;
Clyde Freeman Herreid
Department of Biological Sciences
University at Buffalo


This problem-based case focuses on the female menstrual cycle and early stages of pregnancy of an unwed teenager. Working in small groups, students identify the learning issues for each part of the story and research answers to their questions. They are then given more of the case to evaluate. The cycle of analysis, information seeking, and sharing is repeated for each stage of the case. The case can be used in numerous settings including general health, biology, and sociology classes or in more specialized courses such as physiology, endocrinology, nursing, medicine, human development, social services, or counseling.


  • The basic physiological changes that occur during the normal menstrual cycle.
  • The hormonal and physiological changes that occur in a woman once she becomes pregnant.
  • The general steps of early embryonic and fetal development.
  • The various methods of birth control and their relative effectiveness.
  • The different methods of abortion, and the legal, moral, and religious options that a woman has regarding her pregnancy.


Menstrual cycle; menstruation; fertilization; pregnancy; embryonic development; embryo; fetus; birth control; contraception; abortion

Topical Areas

Ethics, Social issues

Educational Level

Undergraduate lower division, Undergraduate upper division, Graduate, Professional (degree program), Clinical education, General public & informal education, Continuing education



Type / Methods

Problem-Based Learning, Dilemma/Decision



Subject Headings

Biology (General)  |   Medicine (General)  |   Physiology  |   Nursing  |   Sociology  |  

Date Posted


Teaching Notes

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