It's becoming a small, small world…….

A. Christian-Vaughn, R. Lawson, A. James

A Module for Investigative Case Based Learning in the Classroom


The unit analyzes the effects of nutrition and medical care as it relates to the reproduction cycle. The unit will cover areas in Biology, Genetics, and Health. The students are involved in the Special Education program (some materials modified to accommodate intellectual level).




In the Emory Public Schools, a problem exists in the Ethel and Margaret Elementary School. Since 1995, there has been an increase in the number of pregnancies among fifth graders. This situation has prompted the principal to contact the local health care facility and community center.

Nearly 30% of the children born have birth defects. As a result, the school has the highest absentee rate and lowest tests scores in the system.

Learning Objectives:

Students will:
1. Create personal meal plan that will include the RDA of all essential nutrients.

2. Investigate the nutrients and diet that the human body requires for good health and explain the function of each.

3. Determine the causes of birth defects and identify specific defects.

4. Identify the importance of proper health care during pregnancy.

5. Be informed about social, emotional, and medical implication.


Relation to Science Education Standards: Special Education

1. Recognizes and describes how traits are passed from parents to offspring.

2. Identifies the food pyramid, its components and importance (relates to human body) and how it has improved the quality of life.

3. Names and describes important body parts and their basic functions.

4. Examines how health care technology has improved the quality of life.

5. Determines the effects of technology on food and nutrition


Elements of ICBL

1. Case:
The case will be presented to the students during the units on Reproduction. Learners will work in pairs to complete activities.


a. Why is a balanced diet important?
b. What birth defects will occur from poor nutrition and health care?
c. What food groups make up the food pyramid?
d. What are nutrients?
e. Describes care (medial, emotional, social, etc…) that is required of child born with birth

2. Resources:

Speakers (Health Care Providers, Social Workers, Peers)
Graphic software
Audio (tape recorder) and Visual (Overhead projector) Equipment
Reference Materials

3. Investigative Activity:

A. Computer activity - the food pyramid has sound files for vocabulary words, answers questions related to topic
B. Piled High! - create giant food pyramid from overhead to poster board, cut pictures from magazine and fill in food groups from magazines
C. You are what you eat!!! - students use colored playdough to make foods and create meal on paper plates
D. Facts and Fables - Students complete worksheet that assess their knowledge of prenatal care and the risks
E. Construct a pamphlet that includes: birth defects, cause of birth defects, population/risk, possible treatment, medical, social and ethical implications
F. Research - discover the birth defects caused by poor nutrition and lack of medical care
G. Interview - students will interview health care professional, social worker, parent of child with birth defect

4. Assessment:
Students will be engaged in activities in pairs (peer tutoring and mentoring), and interaction among students on integration of information.

Giant Food Pyramid
Examples of well balanced meals
Tape with interview
Completed worksheets

Suggested schedule:

Classes are in 2-hour blocks

Day 1: Instruction (30 minutes)
Computer Integration (45 minutes)
Pyramid and Meal construction (45 minutes) - class split (half on each activity)

Day 2: Instruction (30 minutes)
Library research (60 minutes)
Interviews (30 minutes)

Day 3: Instruction (30 minutes)
Computer Integration) (60 minutes)
Oral presentations (30 minutes)


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