Science Class Dissections: Benefits of Modern Alternatives

Some students look forward to learning from dissection activities with real specimens, while others dread these class periods. In the past, schools did not take the student’s personal views into consideration. Laws have been initiation in some areas that protect their right to choose an alternative to working with real animals. Modern technology has provided some excellent resources to benefit students and schools, alike.


The details of animal dissection can be clearly shown with other visual aids. Computer programs offer a simulated version of the activity. These programs help students by showing images of the animal in various stages of dissection. Interactive programs allow for student involvement. Synthetic models offer a hands-on approach. These life-size replicas open to reveal organs and come with dissection tools.

Saving Money

Animals for dissection can be a large expense for schools. One specimen is usually required for each student, or every two students. Virtual dissection computer programs can be used repeatedly over the years without incurring new costs. The models can also be used each year by new students. Schools with a tight budget may benefit from this option.

Enhanced Study Opportunities 

Animals used for dissection can only be saved for a certain period of time. This leaves little opportunity for students to go back and review what they have learned. Computer programs and replicas allow for repeat access. Many computer programs also introduce information on each portion of the animal as the virtual dissection is attempted. Students can stop the program at any time to review or take notes. They can also return to the beginning with both options and complete the process more than once. This allows for reinforcement data. Dissection alternatives allow for better study habits.

All Inclusive 

When real animals are used in classroom dissections, some students may end up left out. Those students who decline to participate must use the alternative methods in class, at home, or after school hours. Teachers may find themselves teaching to different groups of students, as those who oppose may wish to be absent during the use of real animals. Alternative methods can be used for the entire class to allow for a more uniform teaching environment. Everyone in the class can work together on the project and be introduced at the same time. The use of computer programs and replicas can help to keep the entire classroom moving in the same direction.

Less Complicated 

Dissection of animals usually involve extended paperwork for high school teachers. Notices must be sent out ahead of time to give students time to make a decision on participating. Permission slips must be signed by parents to approve their student’s involvement, as well. There is no reason complicate education. Alternative activities require less planning and paperwork. They take the hassle out of the anatomy portion of science class.

The dissection of real animals has become a controversy for many reasons over the years. This activity tends to bring out strong feelings and morals responsibilities. Students learn well from the alternative methods and teachers can avoid unnecessary conflict in the classroom. These options save money, and allow for full class participation. The benefits of alternative dissection methods make it a viable option for progressive learning. Do you have any other ideas for alternate ways to study dissection?

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