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Animals and Science in the Classroom

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Alternatives to dissection


Animal and plant dissection are school lessons that have been integrated into biology and life science classrooms for many years.  There are times when students or teachers don't like the idea of dissecting an organism that was once living for educational purposes.  If you fit that category and would like other options, but don't know where to turn I give three great alternatives below. 

Virtual dissection videos
: These can be found numerous places including YouTube.  By doing a simple search you will find a plethora of videos but I would caution to ensure the source reputable.  Also, make sure that the person doing the dissection is wearing proper PPE or personal protective equipment especially gloves.  Digital Frog 2.5 is another video source if YouTube doesn't cut it for you and students can also do a virtual knee replacement surgery on Edheads.org.  Also, many universities have made virtual dissection videos such as the virtual pig dissection video by Whitman College http://www.whitman.edu/academics/departments-and-programs/biology/virtual-pig

Apps:  Yes, there's an app for that!  Some can be purchased for as little as one dollar and they take students through an actual virtual dissection.  In most cases the students are able to use their finger as a scalpel and by swiping make their incisions.  Some popular ones are: Easy dissection ($0.99)and Froguts ($3.99) which are compatible with most apple devices. 

Models: The use of inanimate objects can be helpful in learning about body parts, although models can get to be rather costly they can be great alternatives to dissection.  Many models have removable organs which enables students to be extremely interactive.  The one pictured is from Carolina and cost $150.




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