Animals in Research


Animals in Research curriculum

Through this curriculum, students are introduced to the complex topic of Animal Research using structured discussion, stakeholder activities, case studies, and the ethicalframeworks used by those in support of, and in opposition to, this work. One of the goals of the curriculum is for students to support their own position on this issue through well-reasoned, fact-driven justifications in a classroom atmosphere of respectful dialogue.

Click here to access the full curriculum.  To view and download individual lessons, visit the Lessons page.

In order for us to measure how our curriculum resources are being used, please take a moment to contact us and let us know the class or classes in which you're using our lessons.  

"Students were very engaged- we had great discussions!!!"

"Students are especially impacted by the various quotes. It allows them to understand so many different perspectives clearly."



    Complete Lesson Plans
  • Lesson One: Introduction to Animal Research PDF icon 1Introduction_Animal_Research_AR.pdf

    Lesson One is made up of two activities. In the first activity, students begin a unit-long written conversation (Chalk Talk) in which they explore and share their thoughts and ideas about animal research by silently responding to statements, pictures, and questions posted on the classroom walls. The posters remain on the classroom walls throughout the unit and are revisited by students in Lessons 1, 3, and 5 of the unit. This provides teachers with a formative assessment of students’ understandings about animal research and humans’ uses of animals.

    In the second activity, students explore a number of human activities which result in animal deaths: raising animals for food, hunting, abandoning animals in shelters (which results in euthanasia), using animals in scientific research, driving on U.S. roads and highways. Students predict the number of animals impacted by each activity and then compare their predictions to actual numbers. In addition, students take a closer look at animals used only for scientific research and make predictions about what types and how many animals are used for this purpose. Lastly, students consider any possible benefits and supervision for each category.

    Dowload Chalk Talk resources.

    Dowload the Animal Uses PowerPoint Presentation that accompanies this lesson.


  • Lesson Two: Why Use Animals in Research? PDF icon 2Why_Use_Animals_AR.pdf

    Students begin this lesson by watching video vignettes exploring the “3 Rs” (Replacement, Reduction, and Refinement) that guide scientists in conducting humane research with animals. Student groups are then introduced to several types of models, including model organisms, which scientists may use to answer different types of research questions. Using a set of Research Model Cards, students explore research questions and evaluate possible methods to determine the most appropriate model for answering the research questions.

    Download a copy of the 3Rs Poster.

    Download the Animal Model Cards.

  • Lesson Three: History of Animal Research PDF icon 3History_of_AR.pdf

    Students are introduced to a brief history of animal research through a timeline mapping activity. Students are asked to order the events in the timeline and highlight the occurrence of significant events. A discussion about significant events and trends helps students understand the impacts of history on today’s regulations, governing bodies, and uses of animals in research. An extension to this lesson explores the meaning of the phrase Not Tested on Animals.

    Download the Historical Timeline Cards.

  • Lesson Four: Exploring Ethical Viewpoints PDF icon 4Exploring_Ethics_AR.pdf

    In this lesson, students are introduced to duties-based and outcomes-based ethical theories through a series of actual quotes from people who hold different views on animal research. Students then role-play the stakeholder positions. First students identify their stakeholder’s stance as coming from a primarily duties-based or outcomes-based ethical perspective, when possible, and then students align themselves around the room based on their stakeholder’s assumed support of or opposition to the use of animals in research. While standing with other student stakeholders holding similar views, students record their group’s top three supporting arguments. Groups with different perspectives then join together for a Structured Academic Controversy to present and listen to alternative viewpoints. Lastly, students drop their stakeholder roles and further define and justify their individual position on the issue.

    Download the Stakeholder Cards.

  • Lesson Five: Case Study Decisions PDF icon 5Case_Studies_AR.pdf

    In this lesson, students read one of three case studies involving animals in research. Students work through a Decision-Making Framework in small groups, in which they identify the ethical question, determine which facts are known or unknown, consider the values of different stakeholder groups, generate possible solutions, and then make and justify a decision about the case. This is a jigsaw exercise, in which students first meet in “like” stakeholder groups to become experts on the values and concerns of that group. Teams are then rearranged so that each new group has students from different stakeholder viewpoints. After sharing the views and values of each stakeholder group with their peers, groups work together to generate options for solutions to the case study. Lastly, students come to individual decisions about the case and write a thorough justification. [Note: Some field test teachers suggest transitioning from Lesson Four directly to the Assessment   and using this lesson as a reflective tool for re-visiting the topic at a later date].

    Download the Justification Framework.

  • Overview, Credits and Standards PDF icon 0Credits_Overview_Standards_AR.pdf
  • Assessment PDF icon 6Assessment_AR.pdf

    At the beginning of Lesson One, students engaged in a silent Chalk Talk regarding their personal understandings and beliefs about animal research. By beginning successive lessons with students adding to these conversations, students are able to observe how these understandings and beliefs change and/or grow through the unit as they add to the “conversation.”

    At the culmination of the daily lessons, students engage in a whole class discussion about what they observed and how their understandings and beliefs about animal research have or have not changed over the course of the activities. This provides teachers with a formative assessment of students’ understandings about animal research and the use of animals in and by society.

    As a summative assessment, students will create an Action Plan of how they will exercise their personal position on the use of animals in and by society based on background information and ethical principles.

  • Appendix PDF icon Appendix_AR.pdf

    The Appendix contains a master glossary, background reading on ethical theories, information on animal research regulatory bodies, and more.



Download a free copy of a poster detailing the 3 Rs of Animal Research: Replacement, Reduction and Refinement. These principles guide scientists in the ethical conduct of animal research.


This Powerpoint presentation accompanies Lesson 1 of "The Science and Ethics of Animal Research"


This webinar was given for National Science Teachers Association to accompany "The Science and Ethics of Animal Research" curriculum

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