New approaches to animal research in schools
Animal research is a favourite topic when teachers are looking for a sure-fire way to get their students interested in the ethics of science, but are schools getting all they can from this complex, sometimes difficult, always fascinating subject?
This August, Understanding Animal Research invited 10 science teachers to spend three days at the National Science Learning Centre in York to to consider what resources teachers need to get to grips with animal research. The group encompassed a wide range of experience from a newly qualified teacher to a head of department, and were led in their discussions by an independent facilitator supported by UAR.
With enthusiasm fired by presentations and a visit to an animal research facility, the participants set about a detailed analysis of the curriculum and the exam board syllabuses, which revealed a wealth of opportunities for using animal research to explore key aspects of science. By the end of the three-day residency the ideas were flowing fast and a series of lesson plans and teaching ideas were initiated, on subjects as diverse as the ethics of animal research and the story of animals in space.
Over the next school term we will be following up with the participating teachers, to observe their ideas put to work in school, and to develop them in a comprehensive re-design of this website's Learning Centre and Resources pages.
This will be the first animal research educational resource of its kind created by teachers, for teachers, and a first step towards making animal research part of the secondary education of every young person in the UK.