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A Colorful Picnic with Photosynthetic Pathways and RuBisCO on the Menu

In this interrupted case study developed for use in a flipped classroom, students read about a picnic that takes place in autumn during the peak of ...


All That Glitters May Not Be Gold

In this decision case, a congressional staffer must weigh a number of competing concerns and issues, including popular reactions to genetically mod ...


Animals Can Run Away, but Plants Must Stay

In this PowerPoint-driven case study, students consider the many challenges faced by plants and discuss which of these might induce a morphological ...


Banana Split: To Eat or Not to Eat

This case focuses on the banana, the most popular fruit in the world.  In the first part of the case, students are introduced to the history o ...


Cancer Cure or Conservation

This case is based on the controversy that surrounded harvesting of the Pacific yew from 1989 to 1997 to develop paclitaxel (Taxol), a revolutionar ...


Corn Ethanol: Using Corn to Make Fuel?

This problem-based case study guides students through a systematic exploration of the scientific issues surrounding the production and development ...


Darwin's Finches and Natural Selection

In this "clicker case," students learn about natural selection through the research of Peter and Rosemary Grant and colleagues on the finches of th ...


Dead Fish in Bear Pond

This interrupted case study introduces students to the complexity of understanding natural variation in ecosystems through time in the absence of l ...


Do You Really Know What You're Eating?

Starting from a fictional “news” report about an apparent allergic reaction to a taco tainted by genetically modified corn, students co ...


Dust to Dust

Tom and his grandfather, a retired high school chemistry teacher, are talking about a National Geographic television documentary titled “Waki ...


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 o ...


Ethnomedicine in Latino Communities of Madison

This PowerPoint-delivered case study guides the reader, a hypothetical student intern with the City of Madison (Wisconsin) Public Health Department ...


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. ...


Fields of Gold

Can plants be used to “strike it rich”? In this journal case study, students examine published research on the use of trees to search f ...


Fish as Fertilizer

In this case study, students examine data from a number of published studies of the effects of Pacific salmon on freshwater and riparian ecosystems ...


Fishing for Answers in the Gulf of Mexico's Dead Zone

This “clicker case” addresses the eutrophication of aquatic systems caused by human activities. "Susan" is a biology student working at ...


Frankenfoods?

This discussion case, in which a university research laboratory is vandalized by environmental activists opposed to genetic engineering, focuses on ...


Glowing Plants on Kickstarter

This case study is centered on a real scenario from 2013 in which the Kickstarter fundraising platform included a fundraising proposal from a group ...


Golden Rice

In this intimate debate case, students consider whether to support the development and use of Golden Rice as a means to alleviate vitamin A deficie ...


How Many More Thymes? A Case of Phytochemical Defense

This clicker case addresses several concepts related to the evolutionary ecology of herbivore defenses. A survey of several different studies that ...


How to Make ATP

This case study for the flipped classroom introduces the discovery process used to elucidate how cells make ATP. Data from three seminal primary li ...


I'm Looking Over a White-Striped Clover

This case is an exploration of the process of natural selection using white clover (Trifolium repens) as an example. In general, two forms ...


Impacts of Climate Change on Pinyon Pine Cone Production

In this interrupted case study, students explore how changing climate may affect cone production in pinyon pine (Pinus edulis). Students b ...


Indigenous Knowledge and the Search for Medicine

This case study is based on a real scenario in which a high-profile ethnobotanical study in Chiapas, Mexico, ended when local and international org ...


Is Guaiacum Sanctum Effective Against Arthritis?

Dr. Beth Tonoany, a tropical population ecologist, is studying an unusual tree, Guaiacum sanctum, in the tropical forests of Central Ameri ...


Is High Fructose Corn Syrup Bad for the Apple Industry?

In this interrupted case, students analyze a peer-reviewed article and apply the scientific method to solve an agricultural mystery. A fictional ap ...


Joel E. Greengiant Learns About Peas

This case study follows purveyors of peas, Joel E. and Jolene Greengiant, as they learn about the origin, biochemistry, genetics and eventual artif ...


Kill the Aliens: Controlling Leafy Spurge

The majority of people in the world interact with nature in an urban setting. Management issues in urban parks tend to be more challenging than in ...


Killing Chloroplasts

This case study takes place at a fictional biotechnology company developing herbicides against invasive plant species. The case study focuses on fi ...


Knot Your Typical Weed

Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica) is an invasive plant that can be very hard to eliminate. This PowerPoint-driven case study briefly d ...


Kudz-who? and Other Questions of Invasive Species

It is now well known that non-native species have the potential to be harmful to an ecosystem, but that wasn't always the case, and getting rid of ...


Marketing Mostly Intangible Goods: The Case of Botanical Gardens and Arboreta

This case study illustrates some of the common social and economic problems facing botanical gardens and arboreta today. The case describes a conve ...


Mendel Dreams

In this PowerPoint-based clicker case, developed for use in either a general biology or general genetics class, students are introduced to the life ...


Mildred Using Plants

The format for this case is unusual.  The PowerPoint of the "case" provides an in-class framework for working through all of the activities as ...


Monarchs and Milkweed

This interrupted case study was written to help students understand the interplay and relatedness of metabolism in producers and consumers. The sto ...


Oak Clearcutting

The topic of this debate case, developed for a course in “Issues in Environmental Biology,” is clear-cutting, a controversial method of ...


Oral Allergy Syndrome

Students who work through this case study will follow the progress of “Sam” as he explores the microbiological mechanism of oral allerg ...


Organic Food

Currently there is considerable confusion surrounding the use of the term "organic" as applied to food and other consumer products, but within the ...


Osmosis is Serious Business!

This directed case study involves two “stories,” each one concerned with some aspect of osmosis in living cells. Part I is centered aro ...


Osmosis is Serious Business! Hebrew Translation

This directed case study, translated from the original English into Hebrew, involves two “stories,” each concerned with some aspect of ...


Plant Transpiration

This flipped case study is formatted as a PowerPoint presentation that uses group experimentation to encourage active learning in a large science c ...


Poison Ivy

A longstanding belief that has it roots in Native American folklore is that the crushed leaves of jewelweed (Impatiens capensis) relieve t ...


Prairie Garden of Troubles

This "clicker case" was developed for a general biology course for non-majors. It focuses on prairie habitat ecology and restoration. Jim, a young ...


Reproductive Isolation in Columbines

This clicker case uses plant-pollinator interactions in columbines as a biological scenario to teach students about evolution, reproductive isolati ...


Responding to a Changing Climate

This case study uses a jigsaw activity to introduce students to four specific plant responses to climate change: elevational range shifts, phenolog ...


Response to Plant Invasion

This interrupted case study provides students with an opportunity to compare and contrast methods for controlling spotted knapweed, an invasive spe ...


Revolt of the Fungus People

This interrupted case study for the flipped classroom examines the interaction of plants and their mycorrhizal partners. The latter is one of the m ...


Rings as Keys to the Past

This flipped case study was written to provide foundational understanding of woody stem (tree) anatomy and to illustrate how scientific support is ...


The Case of a Tropical Disease and its Treatment

This case study highlights the epidemiological and socioeconomic factors associated with a disease which plagues thousands of people in Central and ...


The Case of the Missing Bees

Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) has claimed approximately one-third of the commercial honeybee population in recent years. A number of causes have b ...


The Case of the Tainted Taco Shells: Advanced Edition

This case discusses some of the issues associated with the use of genetically modified plants, including ecological risks, resistance, and allergen ...


The Case of the Tainted Taco Shells: General Edition

This case discusses some of the issues associated with the use of genetically modified plants, including ecological risks, resistance, and allergen ...


The Dead Zone

This interrupted case study focuses on the seasonal hypoxic area in the Gulf of Mexico known as the Dead Zone. It follows Sue, a college student, w ...


The Deforestation of the Amazon

In this case study, students examine tropical deforestation in the Amazon from the perspective of three dominant stakeholders in the region: a peas ...


The Ecology of Opuntia Fragilis (Nuttall) Haworth

This interrupted case is based on the author's own personal research on the fragile prickly pear cactus in Stearns County, Minnesota. The data desc ...


The Last Spruce Grove

This case study follows a drama that unfolded around a stand of Sitka spruce trees (Picea sitchensis) on Vancouver Island, British Columbi ...


The Medicinal Use of Marijuana

Whether marijuana should be legalized for medicinal purposes has been contested for decades. The claims, counter-claims, issues, and judgments in t ...


The Perilous Plight of the Pika

This interrupted case study addresses several concepts related to climate change and its effect on the American pika. Often called an indicator spe ...


The Polar Bear of the Salt Marsh?

Polar bears are an iconic symbol of climate change, but regionally relevant examples of susceptible biota are needed to highlight how global forces ...


The Wolf, the Moose, and the Fir Tree

In this analysis case, students study predator-prey dynamics in the Isle Royale National Park ecosystem drawing on data and findings from the artic ...


Torn at the Genes

The setting for this case is the family dinner table, where a heated discussion about genetically altered foods is taking place. Marsha Cumberland& ...


Tougher Plants

This "clicker case" follows two recent college graduates as they look for scientific answers to explain why the plants on their new tomato farm are ...


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 follow ...


War of the Roses

In this case, students use lab techniques to determine how the protagonist of the story, a student in a plant pathology class, can find out what is ...


What is a Species?

This "clicker case" is modified from Martin Kelly's case study "As the Worm Turns: Speciation and the Apple Maggot Fly," also in our collection. Cl ...


You Poured it Where?

This "clicker case" focuses on the invasive aquarium strain of Caulerpa taxifolia as a way of introducing students to issues about invasiv ...