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  4. ASPIRES Case Study 9: Animal Welfare (Year 9)

ASPIRES Case Study 9: Animal Welfare (Year 9)

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Animal Welfare in Year 9

School: The London Nautical School, Lambeth (All boys school, state funded)

Teacher: Catherine Wilberforce (wilberforce@nautical.lambeth.sch.uk) 

Overview:  Understanding Animal Research are an organisation that come into to school for 1 hour or 2-3 hour sessions to discuss ‘animal research’ and to also let pupils try to take blood from model animals. Welfare of the animals is discussed and the ethical issues surrounding their use in medical research. It is a good way to introduce the topic and links in with KS4 Core Science GCSE. 

Type of lesson: Classroom based. This lesson (visit) can be put into any Science scheme of work as it is relevant to most and/or can be a standalone lesson. 

Why did you do this?

We were emailed and asked if we would like a speaker come to our school to talk about finding new medicines and treatments and the role of animals in these medical discoveries. We always welcome the opportunity to have trained speakers into school because it gives our pupils a chance to talk to people in industry. We were aware there might be bias but made sure we discussed this with our pupils before and afterwards. In this case we found the discussions very balanced so were not concerned with bias.

Summary of Activities

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Pupils were asked about their understanding of animal welfare and animal testing. They were then asked to watch a short video and to discuss the merits of animal testing. [This was a very interesting video about a man with Parkinson’s with and without his ‘nerve impulse controller’ – very shocking difference in his ability to talk and control his movements]. Pupils were then invited to get blood from a silicon rat using a needle. It was not as easy as it looked and only pupils with calm, confident movements drew any blood. A visitor talked, they showed a video and did a participation demonstration. 

Timing : 1 x 50 minute lesson 

Resources

Materials: Interactive whiteboard, pens 

External links: To book, contact: ajenkin@uar.org.uk 

Contact information:  Alex Jenkin, Education Officer, Understanding Animal Research, Hodgkin Huxley House,  30 Farringdon Lane, London EC1R 3AW tel: 020 3675 1236 fax: 020 3411 7808

Information from the Understanding Animal Research website (www.understandinganimalresearch.org.uk): Talks usually cover the speakers’ specific experiences of working with animals in medical research as well as more general topics including welfare and the law. Sessions last about an hour which includes plenty of time for students to ask questions and get involved. Whilst speakers are all supportive of properly regulated human animal research, they are aware that this is an issue with many different ethical viewpoints and are willing to listen to and engage with other opinions.

UAR aim to fit sessions around school timetables and the time you have available as well as fitting in with our speakers’ work schedules. Specific dates and times or recurring timetable slots are the best things to suggest so that speaker can check their availability against yours. 

Learning and Other Outcomes/Evaluation

An interesting standalone lesson that got pupils thinking about animal testing. 

Curriculum Links

In KS3 Science we do a section on research and development when we teach about ‘Microbes and Disease’ and we do discuss animal research as part of the staged process from drug development to mass market. KS4 CORE Science has a section on medical research and the ethics of animal testing. 

Integrating Careers Information into the Lessons

This lesson could be developed into a string of lessons thinking about careers in science and the pros and cons of testing on animals. 

Top Tips

Make sure you ask for the speaker to allow for questions as they can talk for too long if not given some guidance on how your pupils learn best.