When a biology teacher at the Thea Bowman Leadership Academy charter school in Gary, Indiana, asked for help replacing animal dissection with humane teaching tools, PETA jumped to answer his call.
We donated the popular Digital Frog virtual-dissection software to the school, giving students the chance to learn about science without crudely cutting into once-living animals. The software allows students to dissect frogs virtually and contains animations of the living body, side-by-side comparisons of different species, and modules on how frogs sound and where they live. Studies have repeatedly found that interactive software teaches anatomy more effectively than animal dissection.
So what do students think of Digital Frog? “This program is great. It gives you a lot of details on how dissecting works and how it should go,” says student Mylia Scott. “I believe they should make this program for all the specimens that a high school student might dissect.”
Sema’J Clark also gives Digital Frog two thumbs up. “This program had great details, was very informative, and was very specific as to what and where to cut first,” he says. “I liked the fact that it didn’t just talk about frog dissection but also went into what tools to use. Lastly, this program was entertaining and interesting, so I was never bored.”
Their teacher agrees. “I think it is a terrific program. The graphics are good, it is very educational, the supplemental materials were second to none, and … most importantly, the students were always engaged and seemed to like it,” says Jeff Sanford of Thea Bowman Leadership Academy’s Science Department. “I must thank PETA again from the bottom of my heart for the gift of this program. It has saved the school hundreds of dollars, and the students seemed sincerely interested in and energetic about Digital Frog. Thank you!”
The millions of animals used in school dissection come from biological supply houses, which breed animals or obtain them from animal shelters or the wild. The National Science Teachers Association endorses the use of modern non-animal methods as replacements for animal dissection. Thea Bowman Leadership Academy’s decision to replace crude animal dissection will spare the lives of countless frogs, save the school money, and provide students with a more effective and humane learning experience.
Are you an educator who wants to replace animal dissection with humane alternatives or get a student dissection-choice policy implemented at your school? Contact TeachKind to request free non-animal teaching methods for your science classroom! PETA also offers free, personalized online training for educators who use digital dissection software programs, led by PETA’s science education specialist, who is also a college biology instructor.