Embracing the 3Rs: Fostering Compassion and Ethics in Science Education

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As a non-profit dedicated to promoting compassion and ethical practices, NAVS recognizes the importance of providing students with a well-rounded education that goes beyond scientific knowledge. That’s why we created Animal Use in Science: Exploring the 3Rs, an innovative high school biology curriculum that integrates humane science practices into the classroom. Based on the principles of Replacement, Reduction, and Refinement of animal use in science, the 3Rs curriculum is designed to cultivate empathy, critical thinking, and ethical responsibility in students, all while meeting national standards for life science education. We invite teachers like yourself to adopt this free curriculum and become a catalyst for change, fostering compassion and consideration in the next generation of scientists, policy makers, and citizens.

What are the 3Rs?

The 3Rs Principle of Humane Experimental Technique calls for scientists to first consider how they can replace the use of animals in research, then how they can reduce the number of animals used, and finally how they can refine their methods to ensure best welfare practices. Discussion of the 3Rs gives students a framework for developing a strong sense of ethics in science and serves as a jumping off point from which to introduce topics from emerging technologies in cell modeling to how government policy influences scientific advancement. Inclusion of the 3Rs in education has been widely accepted in the EU but has been thus far largely absent from the US school system. We hope that educators like you will help us change that.

Developed by the Experts

We developed the 3Rs curriculum in collaboration with subject matter experts, professional curriculum developers, and experienced high school biology teachers. Our goal was to create a curriculum that seamlessly aligns with topics already being taught at the high school level while also promoting ethical standards and a deeper understanding of scientific practices. Each lesson is designed to follow the learning cycle and help students meet Next Generation Science Standards through the use of crosscutting concepts.

Interactive Module 2 – The 3Rs: Replacement, Reduction, and Refinement

What’s Included?

The eight modules each cover between 75-120 minutes of class time. Each module includes a comprehensive lesson plan, engaging PowerPoint presentations, interactive activities, and learning assessments. The modules cover a wide range of topics, including experimental design, cell biology, and environmental issues. In addition, a series of interactive video modules can be used to augment the material covered in the lesson plans. Through an exploration of the 3Rs principles, students will develop important skills such as graphical interpretation, critical reading of scientific results, and the ability to engage in thoughtful evidence-based debate.

Teacher Approved

As the final step in the development process, we recruited high school science teachers to review the curriculum, and the responses we received were overwhelmingly positive!

“The materials are engaging and the lesson plans are well designed. I believe the case study and real data driven approach align well with NGSS and state standards.”       

“I was prepared not to like the program, but as I went through it, I found myself saying ‘My students would like this…and this…and this!’”

“I truly am excited to use both part of the plan in genetics for biology and fully in anatomy.”

“This guides a student to a personal opinion rather than telling them what they should believe.”

Join the Movement: Become an Advocate for Compassionate Science

Now that the curriculum is completed, it’s finally time to put it into action, which is where you come in! We are inviting teachers such as yourself to pilot the materials in our curriculum, either in totality or in partial, and let us know how the content works in a real classroom setting. We are offering all of our material completely free of charge because we believe that a science education based on compassion, critical thinking, and ethical principles should be accessible to every student. If this is a vision for the future of education you share, then join us, and together we can inspire the next generation of great ethically minded scientists. Become an advocate for compassionate science—bring the 3Rs curriculum to your classroom today!