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Should Bill Buy Sammy?

A Case Study Introducing Basic Chemistry Concepts


Jessie W. Klein
Department of Mathematics and Science
Middlesex Community College


In this case, students are shown the relevance of chemistry in daily decision-making by taking a look at the popular dietary supplement, s-adenosylmethionine (SAMe), widely used in Europe for depression, arthritis, and liver disease and now available in the United States.  The case was developed for use in the first semester of a general biology course taken primarily by non-science majors. Designed to introduce these students to chemistry, it is also good for developing critical thinking skills with regard to the use of dietary supplements, which tend to be popular with many students.


  • Describe the structure of an atom.
  • Explain how covalent bonds are formed.
  • Distinguish the characteristics of organic molecules.
  • Discuss issues concerning the use of dietary supplements.
  • See the significance of chemistry to daily life.
  • Develop critical thinking skills.


SAMe; s-adenosyl methionine; atomic structure; covalent bonds; dietary supplements

Topical Areas


Educational Level

High school, Undergraduate lower division



Type / Methods




Subject Headings

Chemistry (General)  |   Biology (General)  |   Science (General)  |   Biochemistry  |  

Date Posted


Teaching Notes

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