Case Study

Description
A case study is a process in which a particular real-life instance is examined as an exemplar of general principles. Case studies can be pursued as real or simulated problems. One common approach to case study is role playing, where students come to understand the problem clearly and identify possible solutions. A case study is also used to provide an opportunity for in-depth study of an issue or problem students currently face or have faced. It requires students to actively participate throughout the investigation by gathering materials from current events and examining issues in the curriculum through real-life application (for example, situations in history, problems in family life, entrepreneurial ventures). Case studies are useful for identifying social problems and issues, providing options for dealing with them, and analysing the values underlying these options.

Method
The teacher:
  • designs task requirements and sets time lines;
  • prepares scenarios and investigative tools in advance, such as a folder with relevant information;
  • plans composition of small groups;
  • monitors progress of groups and intervenes as necessary;
  • assists students in planning how they will represent their learning.

Considerations
Case studies:
  • require substantial teacher preparation;
  • may involve negotiation with students on research processes and representation formats;
  • require substantial allocation of time for students to investigate and solve problems;
  • may involve the use of drama for investigation and representation.

Illustrations from the Mathematics Classroom

Elementary
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Secondary
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