Animal use in science refers to animals used in basic and applied research, i.e., products used in drug development or manufacture, and chemicals, food additives, and other testing to ensure they are safe. The three Rs stand for modification, reduction, and improvement of animal use in science. Anyone who uses animals for scientific purposes in the European Union must practice the Three Rs. Under EU law (Directive 2010/63/EU). Animal testing on cosmetic products is prohibited under EU legislation. This Learning Scenario (LS) will enable middle school students to learn about animal studies, Three Rs careers and animal care. It will also touch on the Three R principles and their importance in governing the use of animals in science. Secondary school students will design a playground for experimental animals in order to improve the environments in which animals live during the use of animals in science.

SubjectScience Scientific thinking İnformation technologies  
TopicAnimal research, alternatives, Three Rs principles Integrated IT and Science course for middle school students  
Age of students12-14 years old
Preparation time3 hours
Teaching time160 minutes
Online teaching materialVideo to watch to draw attention to the topic and discuss it with students: Video to be used to introduce 3R in the description step: Web 2.0 tool that students will use for playground design:  
Offline teaching materialPaper for students’ drawings Paper for students to write instructions/take notes/ Pencils for students  
Resources usedAnimals used for scientific purposes: Video to watch to draw attention to the topic and discuss it with students: Video to be used to introduce 3R in the description step: Web 2.0 tool that students will use for playground design:  

Aim Of The lesson

Exploring the Three Rs principle embedded in European Union legislation,

To learn about the career profiles of practitioners who apply the Three Rs in their work,

To gain knowledge in the field of animal use in science,

Studying how to study STEM subjects.


  • Project-Based Learning: students get fact-based tasks, problems to solve and they work in groups. This kind of learning usually transcends traditional subjects.
  • Lifelong Learning: learning does not stop when leaving school.
  • Collaborative Learning: a strong focus on group work.
  • STEM Learning: Increased focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics subjects in the curriculum
  • Student Centered Learning: students and their needs are at the centre of the learning process.
  • Assessment: the focus of assessments is shifting from “what you know” to “what you can do.”
  • Peer Learning: students learn from peers and give each other feedback.

21st Century Skills

  • Critical thinking
  • Communication
  • Cooperation
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Problem solving
  • Digital literacy


The teacher shows the students the video in the link.

Video: Ask the students, “Why do you think animals are used in experiments? What do you think about experiments on animals? Have you heard of The Three Rs? “asks questions and encourages students to express their opinions.


The teacher, who takes the students’ opinions on the subject, asks the students to bring the use of animals in science and The Three Rs researches and findings to the class.


After completing their research, students present their data on The Three Rs and the use of animals in science to their classmates in teams. The teacher listens to the students’ presentation and fills in the missing parts. The teacher shows the students the video about The Three Rs.


What are the “Three Rs”?

The publication of The Principles of Humane Experimental Technique”  by W.M.S. Russell and R.L. Burch in 1959 marks the birth of the principle of the “Three Rs”.

The authors proposed the principles of Replacement, Reduction and Refinement (the “Three Rs”) as the key strategies of a systematic framework aimed at achieving the goal of humane experimental techniques. Russell and Burch saw replacement as the ultimate goal for laboratory animal based research, education and testing, with the other two, reduction and refinement, being more readily achievable in the short term.


It can be defined as methods, strategies or approaches that do not involve the use of live animals. Replacement may be achieved through a number of tools or their combinations including in vitro systems using tissues, whole cells or parts of cells systems based on biochemical approaches, i.e. using synthetic (macro)molecules as proxies of (reactive) toxicity targets. Such methods are referred to as “in chemico” computer-based models and approaches – often termed in silico use of ‘omics’ technologies (e.g. transcriptomics, proteomics and metabonomics) non-testing approaches such as ‘read-across’ technique


The concept of reduction covers any approach that will result in fewer animals being used to achieve the same objective, including maximising the information abtained per animal, reducing the number of animals used in the original procedure and/or limiting or avoiding the subsequent use of additional animals. The number of animals can also be reduced by performing procedures on animals more than once, where this does not detract from the scientific objective or result in poor animal welfare. However, the benefit of reusing animals should always be balanced against any adverse effects on their welfare, taking into account the lifetime experience of the individual animal. As a result of this potential conflict, the reuse of animals should be considered on a case-by-case basis.


Today, the term refinement signifies the modification of any procedures or husbandry and care practices from the time the experimental animal is born until its death, so as to minimise the pain, suffering and distress experienced by the animal and enhance its well-being.

When an animal experiences pain, suffering or distress, there are often accompanying physiological changes which may increase the variability of scientific results. Refinement therefore is also likely to improve data quality and contribute to Reduction. Refinement can also be achieved by moving from species that are considered more sentient to those less sentient. Examples: substituting the use of an adult fish with earlier life stages, for example, before entering under the scope of the Directive, or substituting the use of fish with daphnia. These are both considered methods of refinement as they are likely to reduce the pain, suffering and distress experienced by the animal, however, still requiring the use of live animals.


The teacher asks the students to design a playground for the laboratory animals to improve their environment. He asks them to draw their designs on a piece of paper and then create their designs in three dimensions using the tinkercad program. The aim here is to ensure the integration of science, engineering and technology. Students use their engineering skills while drawing the prototype they will design on a piece of paper. They actively use technology while designing playgrounds through the Tinkercad program.


Students who complete their designs present their designs to their classmates. During the presentation, each group is evaluated by peer assessment with the rubrics prepared by the teacher.


Peer assessment will be done with rubric.The rubric is given below.

QuantitiesBad (1)Good (2)excellent (3)
 Creating products   
Accurate measurement of the created product   
Availability of the product     
Promoting the product and sharing the process   

Student Feedback

This learning scenario has not yet been implemented. At the end of the application, students’ feedback can be made on the padlet.

Teacher’s Remarks

It is thought that this learning scenario will raise students’ awareness about the use of animals in science and The Three Rs by using STEM disciplines.