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ERIC Number: EJ963646
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Jul
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 17
ISSN: ISSN-0047-231X
Bewitching Ideas Influence Learning: An Evaluation of an Interdisciplinary Teaching Experience
Nava-Whitehead, Susan M.; Augusto, Kerri W.; Gow, Joan-Beth
Journal of College Science Teaching, v40 n6 p65-69 Jul 2011
This column provides original articles on innovations in case study teaching, assessment of the method, as well as case studies with teaching notes. In this month's issue the authors describe an interdisciplinary approach to case study teaching that addresses the demand to balance the goals of process and content. The case study, Salem's Secrets (Nava-Whitehead and Gow 2008), is used both as an approach to introduce the scientific method and hypothesis testing and as a way to integrate learning across the curriculum. The case examines the Salem witch trials that took place in the late 1600s in Salem, Massachusetts. Several hypotheses are presented to explain the symptoms experienced by the accusers, including mass hysteria, outright fakery, and fungal toxicity. Statistical evidence culled from primary source records of Salem (Woodward 1969) and published in the journal "Science" (Caporael 1976; Spanos and Gottlieb 1976) is presented to students for analysis. In the end, students are expected to synthesize the information presented throughout the case to formulate a defensible conclusion supported by data that they consider scientifically valid. (Contains 1 table and 3 figures.)
National Science Teachers Association. 1840 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22201-3000. Tel: 800-722-6782; Fax: 703-243-3924; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Massachusetts