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Investigative cases enable students to use their prior knowledge and their own interests to choose a meaningful problem for study. Learners construct new knowledge based on what they already know (National Academy Press, 2000). Students learn biological science in context as they employ scientific information and methods to investigate and resolve - at least partially - realistic, complex problems. When learning occurs around a specific problem, there is an increased likelihood that this learned material will be better retained and more easily applied to similar situations (Brown et al., 1989, Schmidt, 1983). While students may never face the exact problems under study, they gain experience using scientific approaches to work out reasonable solutions to situations that exist in their world. This experience is potentially transferable to the unique problems they will face in their own lives.
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