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.

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)

Cargo Transportation & STEM

Today, Cargo Transportation, cargo has an important place. People want products that are not around for their needs from different places. We use cargo to send things to people we know. In this study, students will make designs for the problems experienced in cargo transportation with STEM. They will make these designs with Lego blocks and Lego Wedo 2.0.

    Introduction

Our work was supported by Bilim Kahramanları Derneği in Turkey. In the study; students, robotic coding integrated into STEM activities. https://www.bilimkahramanlari.org/minik-bilim-kahramanlari-bulusuyor-fll-explore/

   Aims

The achievements of our students

1-Systematic thinking, problem solving, the ability to see the relationships between events.

2-Providing creative thinking.

3- Give them the ability to produce by entertaining them.

STEM is looking for solutions to everyday life problems. Robotic coding activities make students’ designs tangible. Students complete the Engineering Department of STEM with robotic coding.

     STEM Method

Students were given eigenvalue training in each study. With these trainings, group work and imagination developed.
Our theme this year; ‘Cargo Transportation’. For the problem situation; scenario transferred. Students do research to find a solution to the problem situation. The teacher brings together the expert on the subject with the children. The children spoke to the experts. Students make drawings and animations for the solutions they have designed. They come together and design the best solution with lego blocks.

 Our Work

Students work collaboratively in their studies. They take part in all stages. it is believed that the student takes part in every stage. Students share sections and studies. They make drawings by designing their solutions. This work improves their imagination. Students discuss their drawings and plan a joint design. This work also improves their speaking ability. Students test by experimenting with code designs to move blocks. This boosts improve their engineering skills.

Students receive Scratch training to design their animations. They receive Lego Wedo 2.0 pieces of training to code moving parts

At the end of the event; students presented the project and the designs of the project products to all stakeholders (student families, other teachers in the school, experts involved in the study).

Check out the videos of our activities on the links below:

To Smoke or Not To Smoke? It’s Not Questionable!

Hey you! Throw away that cigarette’s butt. Of course, put your cigarette out before tossing it in the ash catcher! It will take you a little time to answer the following questions. As a teenager, do you think youngsters are aware that cigarette smoke inhalation is a completely unnatural behaviour? Are they aware of the lethal mix of substances within cigarette smoke? Do they know how Tobacco production and consumption undermine the achievement of several targets related with Sustainable Development Goals of the Agenda 2030?

Well, on the basis of the results of the project we carried out in the last month, our answer could be summarised in this way: not enough!

We would like to raise students’ interest in Tobacco-related hazards. Not only those that directly affect smoker’s health, but also the ones that threat their families, their communities and people involved in tobacco farming. We would focus on the complexity of the problem rather than provide students with a reductive approach. Our Big Idea is that to find effective and suitable solutions, future scientists should also be able to face complexity.

OUR TEAM

We are a team of teachers from the Upper Secondary School “G. Galilei” in Jesi, a Technical Biotech School in the province of Ancona, in the Marche region. The school community vision is always leading us to contextualise learning in real-life. By means of a well-developed network at both local and international level, we are always provided with riveting opportunities to develop students’ and teachers’ abilities to cope with the challenges we are facing nowadays.

TEACHERS’ TRAINING

It all started in September, when a Professional Development Course to spread the use of Inquiry-Based Science Teaching was organized by the National Association of Science Teachers (ANISN). Under the guidance of two trainer teachers, Chiara Garulli and Luigina Renzi, we enhanced our capabilities to plan and implement our project. We also got the opportunity to deepen our knowledge in the field of Tobacco Hazards inviting experts from the Polytechnic University of The Marche Region. They also provide career guidance. “Professional Go Back to School”, the activity we used, is just one of the many ways to present STEM jobs in Classroom. Teachers can find plenty of resources in the guidelines developed by STEAM-(IT) / Stem Career Advisers Network. Finally, spellbinding ideas to promote active learning where grabbed from the MOOC “Active Learning and Innovative Teaching in Flexible Learning Spaces and the related Guidelines in learning space innovations | Unesco IIEP Learning Portal

INQUIRY BASED LEARNING

Students were asked to solve a problem in group of four. They should prove which kind of cigarette was the most poisonous among several samples available for the comparison. They were provided with an apparatus for cigarette tar extraction, an analytical scale, lab glassware, laboratory oven, dryer, solvents, nicotine standard and other materials to perform Thin Layer Chromatography.

According to the different steps of the Scientific Method, students must form a hypothesis, a prediction based on observations and /or previous knowledge, avoiding any use of web search. The next step was to plan an experiment to prove their prediction right. The two steps were carried out using a think, pair and share activity. Each group should come up with a shared experimental plan. The following plenary discussion was aimed to present groups’ speculation and plan. No feedback was provided in terms of wrong or right answers but, teachers had the opportunity to guide them asking sense-making questions. The discussion helped the groups to improve the experimental plan. The experiments were implemented. Data were collected and analysed. Each group drew its conclusions and summarised the whole study using a scientific poster to give a presentation. Finally, findings were discussed in plenary to better understand weaknesses and strengths in each experience.

At the end of the day, students agreed on the best way to compare samples. It consists in a quantitative comparison, the gravimetric analysis of extracted tar from different samples. Further qualitative information could be gathered by means of thin layer chromatography based on the comparison of eluted tar samples and standards.

The final activity was aimed to explain features of tobacco first, second and third hand smoke and the effects of exposure on the human body. Information was provided about the carcinogenesis process induced by nitrosamine and benzopyrene metabolism, which is mediated by Cytochrome P450, a superfamily of enzymes responsible for oxidizing xenobiotics. Consequently, the concept of polymorphism was contextualized to explain the occurrence of altered or enhanced metabolisms that can lead to different health conditions among smokers. Last but not least, teachers make clear that no evidence were shown about the innocuity of Tobacco Heated Products and Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems.

PROFESSIONAL GO BACK TO SCHOOL

Considering the rate of our school students that choose to enroll in STEM academic courses, we would like to offer guidance for STEM careers related with the topic. Internships and Orientation programs provide a wide list of interlocutors to whom ask support to help students to discover the more appropriate career according to their passion, attitudes, willingness, and skills.

Keeping updated with the continuous changes we are experiencing both in education and the job market, whether local or global, is extremely relevant for teaching professionals and students. This way, we can cope with a challenge of paramount importance: to develop students’ hard and soft skills, which are fundamental assets in higher job market demand.

In this experience we got in touch with three experts from Polytechnical University of Marche (UNIVPM), Professor Pier Luigi Stipa, a chemistry researcher in charge of Orientation program for UNIVPM, Professor Stefano Gasparini specialized in pulmonary diseases and respiratory physiopathology and, a PhD candidate Giulia Lucia, who is studying the effects of cigarette butts on the natural marine environment.

Due to Covid19 restriction, the activity was held online. One of our students was in charge of explaining the undertaken learning pathway and the results in terms of raise of interest in the field and gaining of expertise and skills.

Then, students could pose some questions inheriting the careers of involved STEM professionals according to curiosities raised during the activity preparation. The expert addressed the questions and then gave a presentation.

Information was delivered according to the specific discipline approach that experts use facing different aspects of the same phenomenon, the tobacco consumption.

CLIL: TOBACCO AND SDGS OF 2030 AGENDA

On top of that, the last part of the project concerned the interference of Tobacco farming and consumption with principles of equity, prosperity, and sustainability contemplated in 2030 Agenda’s SDGs. In groups the students were involved in the production of a podcast pilot episode. The aim was to raise awareness among their peers on the topic. Students were provided with original material from World Health Organization and  from another acknowledged project Sustainable Development or Tobacco – unfair tobacco. According to activity described in the picture, they had the opportunity to explore the materials and agree on the answers to relevant questions. The process enabled them to highlight the main facts they should use to raise awareness among peers.

EVALUATION

Students’ transferable skills were assessed by means of ongoing observations based on criteria such as participation, accountability, and time management. Hard skills assessment was carried out during laboratory experiments by means of observations and then through the evaluation of poster contents. Knowledge assessment was carried out using open ended and multiple-choice questions.

CONCLUSION

The activity addresses a topic that is meaningful for the students. They are quite curious about the effects of such products. We spotlighted some misconceptions that must be confuted. According to the Framework Convention for Tobacco Control, awareness about the hazards related to Tobacco consumption is one of the most important measures to control the spread of this plague.

The activities the students carried out were not only an opportunity to contextualize their previous knowledge and abilities but also to test and develop new competences.

Authentic learning is an umbrella term that encloses all the different methods we used during this incredible journey. As in life, both of us students and teachers have experienced some problems facing new situations but, at the end of the day, we were all able to find solutions, to communicate with each other and, finally, to manage to become a better and upskilled version of ourselves.

Thank you for reading!