Humane Dissection Tools Shine During Remote Learning–and Beyond!

Blackboard Frog Cropped

The beginning of a new school year is right around the corner and will likely feel different this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Just as schools across the country made the decision to cancel face-to-face classes this spring and moved instruction online, there is a good chance that many students will need to continue distance learning this fall to ensure their safety and that of faculty and staff. 

While many science teachers are preparing their courses for the fall, be it in person or online, it is important that they consider using virtual humane dissection tools to deliver course content. 

NAVS offers helpful information and resources for those interested in effective and humane dissection tools. We’ve recently updated our database of online resources to include additional humane options for teachers and students. 

This past spring, as schools were moving to remote learning, NAVS observed an increase in the number of educators who reached out to us about these resources. We anticipate—and hope—that this trend will continue, especially now, given that so many schools are continuing with remote online instruction. 

Although dissection is a deeply rooted classroom tradition, it is not necessary to teach the life sciences. Humane alternatives can be used to help students meet dissection-related learning objectives, and they offer several advantages over traditional dissection. 

Did you know? 

  • Students who use humane dissection tools perform as well as or better than students who participate in once-live animal dissection exercises.
  • Students are more willing to complete exercises when using humane dissection tools compared to traditional dissection.
  • Humane tools cost less than animal dissection.
  • Several states have adopted student choice policies or laws giving students the choice to opt out of dissection. Through our Compassionate Humane Options in Classroom Education (CHOICE) initiative, NAVS is working with lawmakers in states where students lack this right to encourage the introduction of student choice legislation. We are also working with educators in states with student choice laws and policies to help ensure they are complying with their student choice measures. 

NAVS believes that when biology educators who are new to using humane dissection tools have the opportunity to use these educational tools as replacements for dissection, they will recognize the advantages that NAVS has long touted. It is our hope that they will actively choose to use these humane dissection tools over dissection specimens not only during remote learning, but also when students return to the classroom. 

Please forward this email to friends and family members that have children in grades K-12 to make them aware of student choice and the smarter alternatives to classroom dissection exercises. 

Image detail from “The Formulating Frog” by Garrison Dixon, Art for Animals 2010