Our 9th grade Environmental Science book ( Holt) has mini case studies that I have used with my classes that are embedded with the relevant topics. However, this textbook was published over 10 years ago and even though I like that they are included the material is dated. I think Case Studies are valuable in that they present an actual happening in science that students feel connected to. They also tie in problem-based learning techniques for students. In our class we were asked to read the article 'Generate an Arguement' which presented a model on how students could use data, background information, or even a hypothesis to develop a conclusion based on the given materials. This model gives ideas to students and in turn students are explaining and reasoning their way to a scientific conclusion based on these ideas. I feel that Case Studies are examples of the Generating an Argument type of model. They present background information to students and then give the opportunity for so many projects, presentations, debates, further research etc. for your classroom.
Class Project Idea
Something I would like to incorporate into my Earth/Environmental Science class next year is the use of an online forum on Case Studies. We use Moodle 2 (an online learning community that our school would like for us to incorporate in our classes next year) in our county and it has online discussion forums. I would like to set up the background of these case studies as topics, have students discuss initial thoughts at the beginning of the week. Then I would post probing questions about the specific study and (hopefully) students can make connections with the content from class, or something they have read or seen that links and run with the discussion on their own. I think online discussion forums are an advantage to certain personalities of students and when all students will have access to the internet it is possible to draw in these electronic resources to use.
National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science: My Brainchild