Smith M. Animal alternative-based curricula for youth: Research and applications [abstract]. ALTEX. 2005;22(Special Issue):30


Educational experiences with pets and wildlife can facilitate the development of positive attitudes toward animals, as well as help children learn about themselves and their place in the world. Unfortunately, the use of live animals in schools is unregulated and lacks standardised guidelines; in non-formal education programs such as 4-H, oversight policies for live animal projects are highly variable and difficult to enforce. Furthermore, logistical, ethical, and economic restrictions limit opportunities for many youth to interact with live animals. Therefore, educational interventions that utilise alternatives to live animals present an important resource for educators in schools and community-based programs. This paper presents innovative, research-based interventions that utilise alternative approaches to teaching elementary school-aged children about animals. One curriculum, Animal Ambassadors, uses no live animals in its instruction; hands-on materials, including rubber foot molds, plaster tooth casts, and imitation animal coats are organised into learning kits that accompany printed materials. Animal Ambassadors supports state and national science standards and is applicable for schools and community-based programs. Data will be presented that demonstrate the positive effect of the Animal Ambassadors curriculum on children’s knowledge of, and attitudes toward animals, as well as on science process skills. Other interventions to be discussed include Animal Science curricula for common agricultural species (sheep, swine and rabbits) that have been designed to be effective with or without the accompanying use of live animals. These curricula also support state and national science standards and were designed principally for use by 4-H Youth Development Programs.

Link to journal: ALTEX - Alternatives to Animal Experimentation