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Investigative Cases
The Case: Where in the World is Reveille?

Alejandro’s Dilemma

Alejandro woke up and jumped out of bed as soon as t he alarm went off. He felt great and met up with his friend, Jose. Together they walked by a field of Cottonwoods, Pine and Cedar trees on their way to school. Immediately Alejandro began to sneeze and his eyes started to water. Jose asked him, “What’s the matter with you?” Alejandro answered, “I don’t know. I was fine when I got up this morning."

Case Analysis

  1. Recognize potential issues and major topics in the case. What is this case about?
    Underline terms or phrases that seem to be important to understanding this case. Then list 3-4 science-related topics or issues in the case.

  2. What specific questions do you have about these topics? First, by yourself, and then in a group, make a list what you already know that is related to the case in the “What Do I Know?” column. List questions you would like to learn more about in “What Do I Need to Know?” column.

    What Do I Know? What Do I Need to Know?

  3. Put a check mark by questions in the “What do I need to know?” list that you think are most important to explore.

Case #2-Forensics Case

The Case of the Missing Statue

Tony is an investigator working for the College Station police department. Tuesday morning he gets a phone call. “Hello?” asked Tony.
“Morning, Tony.” Sarah said.
“Good morning, Sarah.” he replied.
“Sorry to wake you on your day off”, said Sarah, “but can you come down to the Texas A&M campus?”
“Why, what’s going on?” Tony asked.
“Well, Tony, it looks like someone broke into the Sam Houston Sanders Corps of Cadets Center and stole the statue of Reveille, the Texas A&M mascot” she replied.
“Wow, who would do such a thing?” asked Tony
“That’s what we’re trying to figure out”, she said, “Can you come down as soon as possible?”
“No problem, I’ll be there in 10 minutes!” Tony responded as he checked his watch.
Fifteen minutes later, Tony pulls up to the crime scene. He notices Sarah walking to meet him.
“Sorry I’m late, Sarah. Traffic was bad this morning.”
“No problem Tony, I’m just glad you made it” said Sarah. “This is what we have so far, the only evidence we’ve found is a small piece of cloth found near the crime scene”
“Was there anything special about the cloth?” Tony asked.
“Well, so far we’ve found some kind of grass clippings, sand, mud and pollen stuck to it” said Sarah. “Oh, we also know the statue was there at 2 a.m. and discovered missing around 6 a.m.”
“Any suspects?” asked Tony
“Actually, we have a list of eight possible suspects who were spotted near the scene between 2 and 6 this morning” said Sarah. “Let’s go for a ride and check them out.”
After spending the day interviewing the eight suspects and collecting evidence on each one, Tony and Sarah narrowed the list to four possible suspects.
“The only thing that connects these four suspects to the crime is the fibers and pollen found on their clothes” explained Sarah.
“Well Sarah, let’s take the evidence we’ve collected back to the lab and see what we can find” said Tony.

Students will be given 4 different prepared slides. Each slide is representative of elements found on 4 different suspects. Students should draw elements as seen on the slides. They should make a comparison of the 4 slides with the slide of material found at the crime scene to find a slide similar/identical to the crime scene.






Case Author:
Ruben Cortez George Washington High School
Juan Munoz
Lucy Condon

Case Analysis

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 collect and analyze samples of pollen found in the field.
  • Students will observe the function of the SEM(Scanning electron Microscope) and view pollen as it is magnified through the process of the SEM.
  • Students will use a compound microscope to determine detail of the pollen samples on their slides.
  • Students will draw these samples and create a model of their sample using styrofoam balls, play doh, and pipe cleaners.
  • Students will compare and contrast pollen samples to determine the odd sample. They will write specific characteristics that show how one slide is different from the other slide to determine the correct slide sample.


National Standards
§112.43. Biology; §112.42. Integrated Physics and Chemistry;§112.22. Science, Grade 6.


  1. In Grade 6, the study of science includes conducting field and laboratory investigations using scientific methods, analyzing data, making informed decisions, and using tools such as beakers, test tubes, and spring scales to collect, analyze, and record information. Students also use computers and information technology tools to support scientific investigations.
  2. A system is a collection of cycles, structures, and processes that interact. Students should understand a whole in terms of its components and how these components relate to each other and to the whole. All systems have basic properties that can be described in terms of space, time, energy, and matter. Change and constancy occur in systems and can be observed and measured as patterns. These patterns help to predict what will happen next and can change over time.
  3. Investigations are used to learn about the natural world. Students should understand that certain types of questions can be answered by investigations, and that methods, models, and conclusions built from these investigations change as new observations are made. Models of objects and events are tools for understanding the natural world and can show how systems work. They have limitations and based on new discoveries are constantly being modified to more closely reflect the natural world.


Knowledge and skills.

  1. Scientific processes. The student conducts field and laboratory investigations using safe, environmentally appropriate, and ethical practices. The student is expected to:

    (A) demonstrate safe practices during field and laboratory investigations; and
    (B) make wise choices in the use and conservation of resources and the disposal or recycling of materials.

  2. Scientific processes. The student uses scientific inquiry methods during field and laboratory investigations. The student is expected to:

    (A) plan and implement investigative procedures including asking questions, formulating testable hypotheses, and selecting and using equipment and technology;
    (B) collect data by observing and measuring;
    (C) analyze and interpret information to construct reasonable explanations from direct and indirect evidence;
    (D) communicate valid conclusions; and
    (E) construct graphs, tables, maps, and charts using tools including computers to organize, examine, and evaluate data

  3. Scientific processes. The student uses critical thinking and scientific problem solving to make informed decisions. The student is expected to:

    (A) analyze, review, and critique scientific explanations, including hypotheses and theories, as to their strengths and weaknesses using scientific evidence and information;
    (B) draw inferences based on data related to promotional materials for products and services;
    (C) represent the natural world using models and identify their limitations;
    (D) evaluate the impact of research on scientific thought, society, and the environment; and
    (E) connect Grade 6 science concepts with the history of science and contributions of scientists.


Investigations and Activities



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

Special Data Items


Student Products

  • Two distinct pollen samples collected from flowers in the field displayed on a glass slide.
  • A drawing showing at least two different types of pollen as collected in the field.
  • A 3D model of their pollen sample.
  • A written explanation of the pollen and reasons why they chose one slide as the duplicate slide to the crime scene slide.

Assessment and Evaluation Plan



Course name:
myplantIT Summer Institute
Likely sequence in syllabus:
Time during term:
Texas A&M College Station, Texas Campus
Students in course:
11 teachers/19 high school students
Collaborative elements:
Collabortive Teaching
Additional notes:



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