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Teachers Use Alternatives To Dissection of Animals

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Educators use a number of alternatives to animal dissection in order to teach similar skills or lessons. Many of the following methods and materials are endorsed by animal-welfare advocates.

The dissection of flowers and other plants.

Carefully controlled studies of human musculature and reflexes.

Videodisks containing film and still images of internal organs and physiological processes of amphibians and other animals.

The disks provide extremely sharp images that can be randomly accessed and replayed as needed. When the disks are linked with computer-based "navigation" software, teachers or students can manipulate the images to create individualized lessons.

Computer simulations that allow students to "dissect" computer-generated images of animals and to identify their parts.

Videotapes of dissections per4formed by trained professionals.

Lifelike models that allow students to "disassemble" an animal, to handle replicas of major organs, and to replace them in their proper locations.

The use of modeling clay to replicate the structure of living creatures from other models or drawings.

The use of art supplies to allow students to demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between form and function by "designing" creatures of their own.

The study of form, habitat, and behavior by keeping live animals such as fish, small mammals, and other, less-complex forms of life, in the classroom. This is done within strict guidelines to ensure humane treatment promulgated by such organizations as the National Science Foundation, the Humane Society of the United States, and the National Association of Biology Teachers.--pw

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