Teaching Evolution Using Case Studies
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Teaching Evolution Using Case Studies Understanding and Teaching Evolution | Belize | November, 2012
are case studies? are their limitations?
you use case studies?
Example (“Case Studies: A Resources
What Are Case Studies?
“A story with a message” – CF Herreid (JCST, Feb. 94)
A brief, real-world scenario, followed by questions, exercises, activities
Many different formats, variations
Used for decades in law schools, business schools, medical schools
Usage in science classrooms increased dramatically in the 90s
Why Use Case Studies?
Less didactic, more engaging, student-active approach
Emphasizes critical analysis, reasoning, higher-order thinking
Promotes student interaction, builds communication skills
Typically focuses on student-relevant, real-world situations
Goal is not typically to teach content, although data show that learning/retention of content using this method can equal or exceed traditional (Socratic) methods
Limitations of Case Studies
Not necessarily the best method for conveying/teaching large amounts of facts or information (debatable?)
Can be challenging (although not impossible) in large lecture settings
Issues associated with group dynamics
Instructor skill/ability with method is critical
Do you use case studies? Why or why not? Examples?
A Mini Case Study Mark is the starting forward and team captain of his high school basketball team. His team is playing for the state championship in a couple days. He also has two midterms next week, his girlfriend just dumped him and he just found out that his parents are getting divorced. On top of all this, he’s starting to feel under the weather, so he visits the school nurse.
A Mini Case Study (cont.) The nurse explains that his immune system, and in fact all vertebrate immune systems, rely on chemicals called cytokines to function properly. Stress is known to produce chemicals called corticosteroids, which slow down or stop the production
of cytokines. Consequently, stress makes him more susceptible to infections and illness.
A Mini Case Study (cont.) “That just doesn’t seem fair!”, laments Mark. “The
last thing in the world I need right now, when I’m already so stressed out, is to get sick! Why does this happen?!?”
A Mini Case Study (cont.) QUESTIONS 1.
What selective pressures might have led to the evolution of this trait in vertebrates?
Why do you think it has persisted in humans?
Predict what might happen in an individual born with a mutation that prevented normal, functional corticosteroid production. What might be the evolutionary implications of such a mutation?
“Extended” Case Studies
“Extended” Case Studies
Resources and Links
DNA to Darwin – www.dnadarwin.org
Evo-Ed: Case Studies for Evolution - lbc.msu.edu/evo-ed
National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science ublib.buffalo.edu/libraries/projects/cases
BioQUEST Investigative Case Based Learning www.bioquest.org/icbl/publications.php
Understanding Evolution - evolution.berkeley.edu
Merlot – www.merlot.org
PBS Evolution: Teaching Evolution Case Studies www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/educators/teachstuds/ tvideos.html