LifeLines OnLine

Workshop Announcement


June 9 - 13, 2003

PRISM Workshop:
Implementing Investigative Case-Based Learning

Emory University Center for Science Education

Math & Science Building, Room W502

Investigative case-based learning is a variation of Problem Based Learning in which cases provide a context for problem posing, problem solving, and peer persuasion. Students work collaboratively to identify issues and frame questions of interest to themselves and in the process they also learn to:

  • locate and manage information;
  • develop reasonable answers to their questions;
  • provide support for their conclusions, and
  • work on decision making abilities.

The cases serve as springboards to student-designed investigations. Although the case defines a general area of science under investigation, students generate the questions that will define their own topic of study. Students use the case as a focus. Cases are useful for lifelong learning because they are open-ended and draw from a broad range of situations in which scientific reasoning can be applied. Open-ended cases require student learning to go beyond the facts of science to use scientific knowledge to frame questions and to answer them.

Workshop Staff

Margaret Waterman

Associate Professor of Biology
Southeast Missouri State University
Cape Girardeau, MO 63701

  Ethel Stanley

Director, BioQUEST Curriculum Consortium
Co-Editor, Bioscene: Journal of College Biology Teaching
Biology Department Beloit College
700 College Street Beloit, WI 53511

  Pat Marsteller

Director Emory College Center for Science Education
Director, Hughes Science Initiative
Emory University
1399 Oxford Rd. Atlanta GA 30322

  Will Todd
Model Teacher Leader
Atlanta Systemic Initiative
  Deneen McBean-Warner Model Teacher Leader
Atlanta Systemic Initiative
  Jordan D. Rose

Program Associate for Curriculum Development
Emory College Center for Science Education


The use of technology in the classroom is an important focus of investigative case-based learning. In this workshop, we will look at modeling and simulation, online tools, databases, and other resources. A special emphasis is placed on the use of sequence information and bioinformatics. We will use molecular data to make an identification of an unknown "sample" and then track down the source of an outbreak of West Nile virus.

Using Online Resources, Simulations, Data, and Tools

Scientific Context

Problem 1
Problem 2

Problem 3
Problem 4

Problem 5

Saving the Biosphere
Irish Potato Famine
Tracking the West Nile Virus

Medical diagnosis
Environmental interactions



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