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Case-based Learning

Students working on the solar cells lab (Ben Binhong Lin, Stanford University)

Students test their results in the solar cells lab.

Ben Binhong Lin, Stanford University

Applying chemistry to real-world problems

In case based learning, students develop and apply course knowledge to solve a more tangible or actual “real life” problem.

As we know that anyone is certainly more motivated to learn something that can be readily applied to the real world, it is easy to see why this method is so engaging. Our upper-level lab courses already allow students to propose their own projects – for example in Chem134, Analytical Chemistry, student final projects have included analyzing pollutants in campus water sources, determining fat content in local French fries, and examining cyanide levels in apple juice.

With the opening of the new Sapp Center and availability of more robust active learning spaces, we look forward to introducing more group work on new case studies throughout the curriculum. For example this winter, in our new biochemistry course, Chem141, students (below) are learning about the underlying cause of sickle cell disease by using software to visualize disease-related protein structures. We look forward to expanding these kinds of activities within many courses in our introductory sequence over the next several years.

Photo: Students work on a case study about sickle cell disease in Sapp 115

Students work on a case study about sickle cell disease in the Sapp Center, room 115.

Stanford University