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General Science and Teaching

Chance to win free virtual-dissection software

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Nina Kahn Nina Kahn 30 Points

Hi everyone, I'm Nina writing from TeachKind, PETA's humane-education division. We work with educators around the country to help bring compassion for animals into curriculums and school activities. I wanted to let you know about a new "Cut Out Dissection" contest (http://www.peta.org/action/teachkind-cut-dissection-contest/) we have running this month, through which educators will have a chance to win a free classroom set of Digital Frog 2.5 virtual-dissection software. It's free to enter, and the contest runs until October 31. Check out the contest page for more details: http://www.peta.org/action/teachkind-cut-dissection-contest/. This is an awesome opportunity for anyone looking to replace animal dissections in their classroom or upgrade their software to a high-quality Digital Frog program that can be reused year after year (saving lots of money for your school!). Feel free to get with me if you have any questions. Hopefully this is helpful to some of you! -Nina

Sandy Gady Sandy Gady 43095 Points

Hi Nina, thank you for your post. I teach middle school STEM and really do wish there was a free alternative for all of us that would allow us to walk away from the live dissection and use a virtual model. Many of my students are excited at the thought of dissection, but I remind them, an animal gave a life for them to be able to study the anatomy. We talk about the social ramifications. That alone is generally enough for my students to be sold on the idea of a virtual dissections. I would love to know if anyone has found a really good free program and how you substituted the virtual model for the live dissections.

Bailee Henderson Katherine Lewis 50 Points

Hi Sandy - I work for a non-profit animal protection organization called Animalearn. Animalearn works to foster an awareness of and a respect for animals used in education. We are dedicated to assisting educators find the most effective non-animal methods to teach and study science. Animalearn has created The Science Bank, our FREE lending program of new and innovative life science software and educational products for educators. Simply go to www.animalearn.org to see what we offer!

Susanne Hokkanen Susanne Hokkanen 79060 Points

Katherine, Thank you for sharing the web address and information. We dissect owl pellets with our students as part of our ecology unit. I have found it to be a great way to engage students in a dissection exploration in a humane way. Students love trying to figure out the owl's diet, and we get an opportunity to review food chains and food webs. Thoughts?

Bailee Henderson Katherine Lewis 50 Points

Susanne,

I totally agree! Owl pellets are a wonderful way to engage students in dissection exploration in a humane way. I have helped to facilitate owl pellet dissections in classes and I agree that the students love finding the different bones and working through what animal the bones and jaws come from. It is a super way to get the students really engaged in learning about food chains and food webs! Thanks so much for your post!

Nina Kahn Nina Kahn 30 Points

Thanks for sharing that resource, Katherine! Sandy, thanks for your interest. I agree--once you delve into the environmental, ethical, and even financial issues surrounding dissection it's difficult to justify, especially knowing alternatives are available that can teach biology and physiology just as efficiently. There are many high-quality and effective nonanimal learning methods available, and I think the "best" one will vary on your class and curriculum and what all your goals are for the activity. Some people like 3-d models or "plastinated" frogs, while others prefer computer simulation programs. You can check out a few programs that we really like on our website here: http://www.teachkind.org/dissectalt.asp. There are descriptions of each so you can compare, and some of them are free. I really encourage you to enter our contest if you're interested in the chance to win a free class set of a great program! We're taking entries until October 31, so hopefully you can get one in. Digital Frog 2.5 is fantastic software, very interactive, educational, and fun for the students. You can read more about it here: http://www.teachkind.org/humanesci_digital-frog.asp. Feel free to e-mail me if you have any questions at NinaK@peta.org. :)

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