Humans and animals: Ungodly Friends?

The activities took place between 11 February and 15 of April, 2022.
Organizer: Korakaki Eleni
High school students

Introduction:

These STEM activities were created for a secondary school with the objective to introduce the principles of the 3Rs – the Replacement, Reduction and Refinement of animal use in science. Students developed their critical thinking and science literacy skills by exploring topics such as ethics in science and how the European Union is protecting the welfare of laboratory animals. The learning activities were created in a  Course Management System (Open eClass), which is used in education and supports the electronic classroom service (e-Classroom) in all schools in Greece.

Short description

11/02/2022 The scenario started with a real -life question the purpose of which was to motivate students (flipped classroom). Also they had to carry out research with safe internet engines and answer some questions.

25/02/2022 In this lesson the students had been provided with some videos which presented the principles of 3Rs. A discussion followed and an online questionnaire was completed-the purpose of which was the self assessment of the students regarding the material presented. As homework the students had to carry out research with safe internet engines and answer some questions.

11/03/2022 The students read and commentated fragments of philosophical texts in relation to human attitude towards animals from the Middle Ages to contemporary era.  Furthermore, the students wrote down their own thoughts and arguments about these issues and uploaded their texts in the eclass lesson (Open eClass).

1/04/2022 In the third lesson the students carried out bibliographic research using prescribed bibliography. They studied the principles of 3Rs and prepared presentations in pairs. Subsequently, a role play activity took place where one group presented and the other two were the assessors. Moreover the teachers formally assess the presentations with a rubric.

Additionally, as homework they completed an online questionnaire and formulated a series of questions to be submitted to the researcher during the online meeting.

15/4/2022 In the last lesson they had an online meeting with a research specialist in the field of animal experimentation and as a result they gathered more information about benefits derived from the animals used in science, the species used for experiments and the living conditions of these animals in Greece.

2. Objectives:

  • to educate students about the principles of 3Rs
  • to cultivate critical thought and scientific point of view
  • to develop awareness and sensitivity in students about all life forms
  • to help students perform proper bibliographic research
  • communication-becoming acquainted with research specialists in the field of animal experimentation.
  • to monitor the development of moral thinking concerning human attitude towards animals from the Middle Ages to contemporary era.

Learning -presentation of new materials and activities

  a. 1st asynchronous distance learning (duration 10 min): Motivating students-

Flipped Classroom

eclass.sch.gr (Open eClass)

padlet.com

Given safe internet engines for bibliographic research:

Firstlly the students watched a Ted-Ed educational video about how experiments on dogs led to the discovery of insulin.

Secondly they answered the question: “Experiments on dogs led to the discovery of insulin. Do you believe that experiments on animals are necessary for scientific goals?”

Homework:

They wrote down their answers on a common padlet :https://padlet.com/korakaki_elen/12yrhyjom1av7o26

Also they had to carry out research with safe internet engines and answer the following questions.

  • Why are animals used in science and medicine?
  • What is the historical basis for the use of animals in science?
  • What are the animal welfare aspects?
  • Can we do science without animal testing?

σι. 2η Σύγχρονη εξ αποστάσεως εκπαίδευση (διάρκεια 45 λεπτά): Έναρξη μαθήματος

First of all, the answers to the questions of the previous lesson were discussed.

After that, the students watched two videos which presented the principles of 3Rs.

A discussion followed and an online questionnaire (I) was completed-the purpose of which was the self assessment of the students regarding the material presented.

(questionnaire I- self assessment )

Homework: An online questionnaire (II)


  c. 3rd synchronous face to face learning (duration 45 min):

The students read and commentated fragments of philosophical texts in relation to human attitude towards animals from the Middle Ages to contemporary era. So, through the texts of Acquinas, the students were confronted with arguments for the exploitation of animals by any means, while through the texts of Mill and Singer, the students found arguments for the obligations that human beings have concerning animal life or arguments even about the very concept of animal rights. Furthermore, the students wrote down their own thoughts and arguments about these issues and uploaded their texts in the eclass lesson (Open eClass).


  d. 4th synchronous face to face learning (duration 45 min): Lesson on Three Rs

Prescribed bibliography:

Firstly, the students carried out bibliographic research using prescribed bibliography. They studied the principles of 3Rs and prepared presentations in pairs.

Secondly, a role play activity took place where one group presented and the other two were the assessors. Moreover the teachers formally assess the presentations with a rubric.

(Students and teacher evaluated the presentations)

Homework: Creation of a questionnaire

Based on the collected information, students formulated a series of questions which have been submitted to the researcher during the online meeting.


  e. 5th synchronous face to face learning (duration 45 min): Meeting with an expert

An online meeting was held with a specialist scientist (the head of the animal management committee at the Biology Department of the University of Crete). The students had a discussion with the scientist as a result they gathered more information about benefits derived from the animals used in science, the species used for experiments and the living conditions of these animals in Greece .

After the completion of the lesson plan the students completed a survey in order to give feedback to their teachers about the content and the activities. Moreover the teachers completed a self assessment.

Questions and practice

Questions:

  • Experiments on dogs led to the discovery of insulin. Do you believe that experiments on animals are necessary for scientific goals?”
  • Why are animals used in science and medicine?
  • What is the historical basis for the use of animals in science?
  • What are the animal welfare aspects?
  • Can we do science without animal testing?
  • How can we accommodate current concerns about animal life and rights with the undoubtful fact of exploitation of animals in the food industry?

Practice:

The learning activities were created in a Course Management System (Open eClass), which is used in education and supports the electronic classroom service (e-Classroom) in all schools in Greece.

We tried to create a STEAM scenario with the combination of three subjects Biology, Chemistry and Philosophy, in order for our students to achieve 21st century skills.

The scenario was based in Students centered learning.

We used the Flipped classroom method and the Peer learning, students learn from peers and give other feedback participating in a role play activity.

Conclusions

With this learning scenario we wanted to introduce the students to the 3Rs principle,  to cultivate their critical thought and scientific point of view, to develop awareness and sensitivity about all life forms, to inform them about the existing and prospective STEM careers and to help them perform proper bibliographic research.

This LS helped students to understand why animals are used in science and what the ethical, societal and scientific challenges are. In addition, it raised their awareness of new scientific laboratory techniques without the use of living animals according to the Three R´s principles. This lesson made them think about topics and issues they had never considered in the past and on the importance of science.

Evaluation

The students were asked to complete a survey after the implementation of the learning scenario, in order to give feedback about the content and the activities. They considered that the topic was very interesting. They enjoyed working in groups, reviewing the materials and collaborating. Also they emphasized on how this lesson made them think about topics and issues they had never considered in the past and on the importance of science.

In addition, the teachers evaluated this scenario and they found it very interesting. However they would like to repeat it, in collaboration with teachers from STEM and non-STEM subjects in order to enrich the activities with topics such as culture, customs, religious traditions etc.

Corrections

From the evaluations it was obvious that the teachers needed more time to carry out STEM activities. Moreover, students made a lot of mistakes in questionnaire II, which was based on bibliographic research with safe internet engines. To improve their school performance it was given to them prescribed bibliography for the next activities.

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