Akpan J, Strayer J. Which comes first: The use of computer simulation for frog dissection or conventional dissection as an academic exercise? Journal of Computers in Mathematics and Science Teaching.2010;29(2):113-138


Science educators and school administrators are reexaming the educational value of animal dissection in the nation's schools and are focusing on simulation as an instructional alternative. One implication of the debate is that simulations can lead to equivalent learning to hands-on dissection. The second implication is whether dissection is immoral or unethical. Recent research findings revealed that students who use simulation to dissect a frog outperformed those who dissected a frog conventionally. This research compared the achievement, attitudes toward dissection, computer, science and school between simulation conditions versus conventional conditions. Results of the study indicated that on the achievement test, both the computer simulation and the conventional dissection classrooms experienced statistically significant improvement from pretest to posttest. When comparing results across classes, the simulation class and the conventional did not have significantly different pretest means. However, the simulated dissection group significantly outperformed the conventional dissection group on the posttest. The conventional class had a significant drop in the attitude scores on the post test.