This investigative case module was prepared as part of a BioQUEST faculty development workshop entitled Faculty Workshop: Implementing Investigative Cases and Technology in Biology and Chemistry at Center for Science Education in August 2004. The cases, resources, and implementation strategies were developed by participants for use with their own students. We invite you to adopt and adapt the following materials.

The BioQUEST Curriculum Consortium is committed to the reform of undergraduate biology instruction through an emphasis on engaging students in realistic scientific practices. This approach is sometimes characterized as an inquiry driven approach and is captured in BioQUEST's three P's (problem-posing, problem-solving, and peer-persuasion). As part of this workshop groups of faculty were encouraged to initiate innovative curricular projects. We are sharing these works in progress in the hope that they will stimulate further exploration, collaboration and development. Please see the following links for additional information:

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Investigative Cases
The Case: Dooley's After-Effects

Part #1
After Emory’s famous Dooley’s Ball last spring, the Atlanta police department reported 10 cases of drinking and driving by Emory students. At the Ball, Mike Green and his friend Joe Chang had a few beers, and at the end of the evening, Mike drove home to Decatur and Joe to Marietta. Both boys were stopped by DUI checkpoints just off-campus. Breath-alyzer tests showed that Joe’s BAC (blood alcohol level) was higher than Mike’s even though they had the same number of drinks. Fortunately, both boys had BAC levels below the legal limit and drove home.

Part #2
The next afternoon, Mike drove out to Marietta to the Chang house to see Joe. After they exchange stories about the night before, Mike says, “I was a little hungover this morning.” Joe laughs and says, “Not me! I’ve already mowed the lawn and weeded the flower beds for my mom.”

Case Author:
Tracy Morkin Emory University:Center for Science Education

Case Analysis

Part #1
- how Breath-a-lyzers work (redox chemistry)
- BAC levels
- alcohol transport in the body

Part #2
- mechanism of alcohol oxidation in the body (alcohol dehydrogenase)
- chemistry of a hangover
- genetic variation in populations

Option: Include a know / need to know chart like the one below:

What do you know?
What do you need to know?

Learning Goals


- identify the functional groups of an alcohol, aldehyde, and carboxylic acid
- identify oxidizing and reducing agents of a redox reaction
- balancing redox equations
- to understand the biological function of an enzyme and make connections to biology class
- to recognize genetic variation among populations
- to understand the functioning of Breathalyzers



Investigations and Activities

Laboratory - determine the alcohol content in various wines or beers using dichromate oxidation and spectrophotometry



Students will usually obtain additional references or resources
to help answer or explore their questions.

Special Data Items

1. dooleysball.jpg
2. breathalyzer.jpg


Student Products

- a comparison between the different types of ADH
- a flowchart that describes the metabolic pathways of alcohol in the body
- a public awareness article about BAC levels and drinking and driving
- a consumer guide to the different types of instrumentation available for measuring BAC levels
- the synthesis of a natural product involving different types of oxidation reactions

Assessment and Evaluation Plan

- multiple choice questions on tests and final exam about the functional groups mentioned above
- balancing redox equations for dichromate oxidation reactions on tests and quizzes
- a group take-home assignment that requires the students to submit consumer reports about the types of BAC analyzers and a DETAILED description of the chemistry and reactions behind them



This case will be used after the students have already learned the basics of oxidation and reduction chemistry in the context of solutions. The main goal of this case is to introduce the students to structural information in redox chemistry in the context of an engaging and applied situation. Part #1 will be used in class and the students will work in groups to generate "the table" and to hypothesize about the inner workings of a Breathalyzer. Part #2 will be introduced later in the chapter when catalysis is mentioned for the first time. Again, the students will be asked to discuss the chemical pathways for alcohol metabolism. Hopefully the students will make connections to their biology class!

Course name:
Chemistry 141
Likely sequence in syllabus:
at the beginning and throughout the discussion of Chapter 4 (Solution Chemistry) in Hill and Petrucci
Time during term:
in the first half
at specific points during the chapter
lecture class (about 100 students)
Students in course:
mainly freshmen
Collaborative elements:
Additional notes:



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