The other day, we found a large dead beetle intact. My son instantly asked to touch it, open it up to see how it looked inside. I was instantly grossed out. I have always been against using research animals and when I was in school I refused to dissect the frog.
My son is extremely interested in the inner workings of all living things, so I was not surprised by his request. Since the beetle was dead already, I felt ok about helping him dissect it.
It was very interesting to analyze the exoskeleton and look at the mouth with a magnifying glass. We discussed how the food must travel, and how brittle it was once we broke into it.
When we could see nothing else, he mentioned he wished he could dissect a mammal. So I did some research shuddering the entire time at the thought of having a cadaver in the house. I was looking for an easy-to-follow dissection lab kit that would help us cover the basics of animal anatomy.
While there are many sites selling dissecting kits, I found something wonderful! An alternative to actual dissecting.
Animalearn an online science bank which provides humane alternatives to animal dissection and experiments. It is the largest lending ‘library’ of humane science products. It offers over 450 CD-ROMs, realistic models, videos, and mannikins for free. The material they provide is for all educational levels from K-12, college/university, and veterinary/medical training.
Primarily, the site advocates for the humane treatment of animals highlighting awareness and respect for animals used in education. I’m setting us up to borrow items. My son will learn about anatomy without hurting any animals.
Article By Nuria Almeida
Picture By John Tann