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.

ETHICS IN ANIMAL EXPERIMENTS

According to scientific records, in 400 BC, animal experiments that started for anatomical structure studies, and in 100 BC, those experiments were done scientifically for the first time. Animal experiments, which increased rapidly with the Renaissance period, started to be discussed in the 18th century with the views that animals are not unemotional and that they are creatures that can feel like humans. In the 19th century, the idea that animal experiments should be done but ethical rules that impose certain limitations became widespread. In 1959, Russell and Burch introduced the 3R rules for animals used in experiments and these rules were accepted by scientists. In this activity, it is aimed to raise awareness among students about animal experiments, which have increased rapidly in the historical process and where ethical studies are intensified today. With the argumentation-based teaching method used in this activity, the starting point of which is animal experiments, it is aimed to support students’ scientific literacy by honing their critical thinking abilities.

Implementation of the event

The activity starts with word clouds to reveal the concepts that come to mind about the concept of animals and the associations formed by the students about animals.

Students are asked to think about our relationship with animals according to the question: “What is the place of animals in society?”.  With a matching game in which students can explore the usage areas of animals in general, it is ensured that they gain awareness about the areas they do not think about or are not aware of. By asking the question, “What are the positive and negative areas where animals are used in society?” a discussion environment is created and students are asked to share their opinions.

Students watch videos about guide dogs, diabetes dogs, animals used in scientific and experimental studies and are asked to share their thoughts about each video. Thus, it is ensured that the students’ thoughts about the usage areas of animals are deepened.

After the videos, an argumentation-based activity is started that will improve the students’ critical thinking skills on the use of animals in scientific studies and experiments. Students are asked how they ethically evaluate the use of animals in scientific studies and experiments. He is asked to explain his claims on this subject with data and justifications using dilemma cards.

Students’ awareness raised by talking about the benefits of animal experiments from the past to the present, about the, alternative technological methods (dissection applications, medical simulators, chip organ …) that we can provide without using animals and 3R principles.

Students are asked to divide into groups and design a remarkable and awareness-raising poster for the use of animals in science in the light of the knowledge they have acquired during the lesson. Posters are displayed at school.

At the end of the activity, an evaluation is made using the questions in annex 4 with a fun game called “Boom”.

In the word cloud at the beginning of the activity, it was seen that the students included positive situations and examples about animals. At the end of the activity, the students stated that they noticed the negative situations related to the animals and they wanted the animals not to be affected by the negative situations. In addition, the students stated that they love animals and that animals are as valuable as humans and that ethical values should be followed in animal experiments. They stated that creating word clouds, matching and boom games were very enjoyable during the implementation of the activity, and they could think about the events in different ways during the discussions.

Click for the learning scenario.

This learning scenario enables students to view events from different perspectives and experience different emotions together. At the end of the activity, it was seen that the students gained important gains about the concept of ethics in animal experiments.

Justice & STEM Solutions

Justice for All in Community Life

In the society we live in, equal living conditions create a big problem for disadvantaged groups. In the disadvantaged group; There are the elderly, the disabled, and children. People in this group should be given more opportunities. The disadvantaged group should be treated fairly, not equally.
These groups lag behind other people in terms of both their movements and opportunities. Therefore, the disadvantaged group should have privileges.

Introduction

Within the scope of our eTwinning project ‘Keys Of Life eTwinning Project’, which was carried out with the participation of 6 school teachers and students from 5 different countries; In the 2021-2022 academic year, citizenship education was given to 64 primary school students (Turkey), 17 primary school students (Slovakia), 15 primary school students (Italy), 26 primary school students (Romania), 20 primary school students (Bulgaria).

 

The aim of this study is to design fair STEM solutions in social life for the students participating in the project. Bringing together the concepts of Justice and Equality with STEM solutions.
Students provided justice STEM solutions to the problems faced by disadvantaged groups in equal situations. https://teacherzeynepoztoprak.weebly.com/keys-of-life-etwinning-project.html 

Methods

The students watched Lafounten’s Tale of the Fox and the Stork, which includes the concepts of justice and equality. They learned the concepts of equality and justice.
Students researched the problems of disadvantaged groups in society. With this study, the students saw that the equality in society is a problem for the disadvantaged. They created their problem situations accordingly.

 

Students developed solution ideas for problem situations. The groups met and discussed their solutions. They searched for similar designs they found.
Students drew their designs at the end of their work.

 Results

Students saw that in social life, equality situations are not justice for disadvantaged groups.They empathized with them while making their designs.
They made their designs to make the lives of disadvantaged groups easier.
Students became aware of disadvantaged groups in their daily lives.

Students pictures
Students Works

Watch our students activity on drawing justice an equality: https://youtu.be/C4IG7s0vJvU

Students Works

A Virtual Lab- based learning activity aimed at the Rs framework’s comprehension

Are you looking for a catching activity to introduce your students to the principles of the 3Rs – Replacement, Reduction, and Refinement of animal use for scientific purposes?
Would you like to engage them in exploring humane experimentation and the welfare of laboratory animals in order to raise their interest in ethics and integrity in science?
Organizing a school visit to an animal facility is a good way to reach these goals but not easy to implement.
However, technology consents us to take a close look at research involving animals without moving from our classrooms: pupils can participate in a virtual, interactive Lab tour through the Lab Animal Tour. This website represents a great resource and an innovative learning setting because provides the visitor with a virtual ‘street view’ tour of four important animal research facilities in the UK: the University of BristolUniversity of Oxford, Mary Lyon Centre at the MRC Harwell, and The Pirbright Institute.
The 360-degree vision of animal rooms and surgical suites is really immersive and comes out as a perfect scenario for a lesson on the 3 Rs principles, also in remote learning.
When the tour starts, visitors are given maps of the four facilities, with a summary of the specialized research field for each Institute: rooms are labeled so it is easy to turn around and explore.

The map of the Oxford University animal facilities

The activity

The activity is thought for secondary students (15-16 years old) who are approaching the 3Rs principles in science.

The lesson can be facilitated by the science teacher together with the English as a second language colleague in order to support students in understanding the videos and labels in English they find on the tour

Oxford University’s primate research facility

This was the given assignment:

You will visit 4 virtual laboratories’ environments (one for each breakout room/group), check them accurately (click on the hyperlinks you find within the scene), and then discuss with your pairs the following:

  1. identify the animal facilities in the room aimed at refinement and explain their function;
  2. take inspiration from what you see in the scene and with your pairs think of your own enrichment product, such as a better cage design, or toy for the animal you have found in the lab;
  3. share your ideas on Flinga if you like

You will have about 30 minutes to complete the activity, after that, we will be back in the plenary (zoom) session for sharing the results (30 minutes)

(If the activity is online) To facilitate the collaborative exploration of the scene, one person can lead it by sharing his/her screen

You find the exact instructions to give to your students in this document with a sheet to print if the lesson is in presence.

The activity is entirely replicable online.

A scene from the Lab Tour

Students feedback

The participation of students was enthusiastic: they have shown to appreciate the digital tour as a diversion from the usual video watching tasks because it represents a more immersive and interactive experience (both online and in presence).

The investigation of the rooms and facilities has arisen pupils’ interest in animal experimentation and welfare in science, sparking their curiosity and encouraging them to further question the topic.

Steam education and the ancient Greek civilization with jigsaw method

The past comes into the present embraces with stem education because as the ancient Greek writer Ploutarchos said, the mind of children is not a container that we have to fill but a fire that we have to light.

By Margarita Dakoronia, primary school teacher of 32nd Primary School of Piraeus-Greece, and her 21 amazing 9 years old students

SUMMARY

We meet the ancient Greek civilization based on steam education. And the jigsaw educational method helps us in this activity. Jigsaw is a cooperative learning strategy that enables each student of a “home” group to specialize in one aspect of a topic. Our topics will be science, technology, reading, arts, and maths in Cycladic, Minoan and Mycenaean civilizations in ancient Greece.

Our resources: Jigsaw.org, youtube with the videos which I have added in the presentation, Europeana, the following greek museum Santorini museum, Knossos museum, Mykeanes and ideas for stem activities from scientix, nasa stem, vivifystem.

Aims of the project:

  • to acquaint students with ancient Greek culture through a different perspective -stem in history
  • to cooperate in the production of the desired result
  • to teach interdisciplinary traditional teaching subjects such as history
  • to find the best possible solutions by collaborating
  • to teach their peer based in jigsaw method
  • to create through the areas that interest them by participating in the team of their choice, as professionals

The project is scheduled based on the following relevant trends and innovations 4c’ skills:

Project based learning: The pupils ought to schedule the steps of the project, to collaborative in groups with their peers and each of the group to produce the materials for the specific period.

Collaborative learning: Collaboration is very necessary to our project. The groups collaborate at the three steps of jigsaw method to succeed their goals. The jigsaw method helps the kids to collaborate and to teach each other. The role of the teacher is only instructive.

Steam learning: Each group of the 5 historical period create the materials depend on steam acronym.

Science: the evolution of life, the search for the extinction of the dinosaurs, the discovery of the wheel, the discovery of writing, the eruption of the volcano of Santorini in 1500 BC and the destruction of ancient civilizations in ancient Greece.

Technology: the construction of the wheel that is considered the most important ancient invention and the programming of our robot – the first wheel to move between our ancient settlements.

Engineering: the architecture and the construction of the first settlements in Greece, in Dimini and Hoirokitia as well as a house of the Minoan period

Art: the group of artists created rock paintings of caves, murals, vases and seals used by ancient civilizations for their financial transactions

Mathematics: Mathematicians engaged in the construction of a vessel similar to what is considered the first computer and was a creation of the Minoan civilization. They measured the distances that the points on the vessel that show the seasons and the months should have.

For the realization of the project, I tried to encourage and cultivate the development of the Creativity , the Critical Thinking, the Communication and the Collaboration, the 4c’ skills of 21st century.

Dates: 1st of April-29th of April 2022, we worked on this project about three hours per week.

1st step: The children were initially divided into composition groups. I assign one of the group members the role of coordinator and distribute the necessary material for the children to study. The student coordinator instructs each student to study in depth a part of the content, taking on the role of expert. The groups have on their tablets the following presentation to study.

 2nd step: Specialization groups are created. Each group of specialists brings together the people from the initial groups who have undertaken the same common subset of the learning object. So we were divided into the following groups

  • the group of Paleolithic civilization
  • the group of Neolithic civilization
  • the group of Cycladic civilization
  • the group of Minoan civilization and
  • the group of Mycenaean civilization

3rd step: Ιn each culture group the children according to their preferences undertook to present the following thematic and they also teach their peers what they have learnt for the period that they have examed:

  • Sciences
  • Technology
  • Engineering
  • Art and
  • Mathematics

Paleolithic civilization

We started from the moment of the creation of the earth and examined the evolution of the species as Scientists. They showed great interest in the dinosaur period, as Artists painted and made comics about the extinction of the dinosaurs. They researched the species of dinosaurs and their categories according to the type of food in herbivores and carnivores.

Photos with kids’ activities for the Paleolithic period

Neolithic civilization

The team that worked for this period, was the Engineers making the first Paleolithic settlements and planning our robot to visit them since at this time we have the discovery of the wheel so the scientists worked on the construction of the wheel. And the Artists painted their first rock paintings.

Photos with kids’ activities for the Neolithic period

Cycladic civilization

The team that worked for this period, was the Artists who painted famous murals as well as the first seal stones that the merchants of that time needed for their financial transactions.

Photos with kids’ activities for the Cycladic period 1st

Minoan civilization

The team that worked for this period, was the Scientists and Mathematicians who tried to make the vessel that is considered as the first computer. The Artists who created the album of Phaistos, one of the oldest inscriptions in the world. This scripture has not yet been read.

Photos with kids’ activities for the Minoan period 1st

Mycenaean civilization

The team that worked for this period, was the Engineering who built great ships-robots so that the Mycenaeans could develop trade and become the largest naval power of their time,

Photos with kids’ activities for the Mycenaean period (a file)