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: To V...or Not To V....The Vaccine Dilemma

Lee and Cindy have been living in the US for the past 10 years. They have decided to take their 5-year old daughter, Kim, home to China to visit her grandparents for the first time. Since they have not been home in quite some time, they are busy gathering documents and packing gifts for relatives whom they havenít seen in quite some time. During their preparation, Cindy realizes that they will be out of the country during the time that Kim is scheduled to have her measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) booster shot. They decided to ignore the doctor visit since Kim is a pretty healthy and active child. Besides, Kim remembers reading on the Internet that vaccinations cause autism. After they had been in China for about 14 days, Kim developed a fever and began to complain of being tired. When Cindy examines her closely she notices a rash that she had not noticed before.

Case Author:
Tameka Clemons Emory University:Center for Science Education
Esra Toussaint-Smith Emory University:Center for Science Education

Case Analysis

Know different components of the immune system...Immunoglobulins Know innate vs. acquired immunity Need to know about vaccinations and vaccine development

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

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

Learning Goals


It is important for the students to understand vaccination in the context of a public health issue. The students must gain the ability to search the web and retrieve relavant and scientific information. The students must understand the Immunological basis of vaccination, i.e. what actually happens in the body.



Investigations and Activities

The students must do a pubmed search to corroborate information found on the internet. The students must be able to convey scientific information to lay people/parents.



Immunology text

Resources assembled by the Australian government

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

Special Data Items

1. shot.jpg
2. gene.gif
3. virus.gif


Student Products

They may find information that the vaccination risks outweighs the benefits.

Assessment and Evaluation Plan

The students must determine if it is measles, mumps or rubella. The students must differentiate between booster vaccines and single-dose vaccines as it relates to the immune system. The students must present a public service announcement that targets parents to understand the benefits of vaccination. The students must be able to apply the information learned to a current situation such as SARS discussing in detail how they would create a vaccine for it.



This case will be used to facilitate the students understanding of the vaccination section of immunology.

Course name:
Introduction to Immunology
Likely sequence in syllabus:
Following lecture series on innate and acquired immunity
Time during term:
6-8 weeks into course
2 weeks
Students in course:
Collaborative elements:
groups of 3
Additional notes:



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