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: Survivor Ethics

The new season of Survivor has just begun. As always, the new crop of players each have their own agendas to ensure they walk away with the million dollars. Bill is the first Survivor to make his feelings known.

"Guys, I am setting up this chore chart over here. I have assigned people to gather food, gather wood, clean up the camp, and make repairs. Everyone must spend 30 minutes completing their chore of the day. That way everyone will have a turn at each."

Sally decides Bill's ways are stupid. She wants to make sure everyone likes her and sees her as valuable, but also wants to make sure everyone gets enough food. It doesn't seem like Bill's way of gathering food for 30 minutes will necessarily give everyone enough food. She vows to get up two hours before everyone else to gather food each day.

The show host wonders which player has the more ethical agenda. Who would you vote off based on ethical choices?

Case Author:
Sonya Greene Emory University:Center for Science Education
Brooke Bourdelat-Parks Emory University:Center for Science Education

Case Analysis

Working in a group
How to live in the wilderness
Leadership responsibilities
Independent decision making in a community atmosphere

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

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

Learning Goals


Students will be able to identify the ethical theories of deontology and act utilitarianism.

Students will be able to recognize the ethical principles of justice and beneficence.



Investigations and Activities

Full group discussion about the theories and principles, as well as who the students would vote off based on ethical choices. This will allow students to begin learning how to take a stance and support it.

Students will write their own case of an everyday scenario where different characters follow different ethical theories and principles. Each student should have one character to depict each of the three ethical theories.



Beginning Bioethics: A text with integrated readings. Aaron Ridley. St. Martin's Press, Inc. 1988.

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

Special Data Items


Student Products

One case written by each student where the characters depict different ethical theories and principles.

Assessment and Evaluation Plan

The group discussion will allow the instructors an opportunity to assess understanding of the material.

Students will work in pairs and read their cases to one another. With no prior discussion, the student should read their case to their partner who should then identify which theories are depicted by each character. Select cases will be presented to the whole class. Cases will then be turned in.



Course name:
Likely sequence in syllabus:
First topic
Time during term:
Week 1, Day 1 or 2
1 Day
Students in course:
20 - 30 juniors and seniors interested in the health professions
Collaborative elements:
Additional notes:



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