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Program offers alternative to dissecting in classroom

(US-pa) Program offers alternative to dissecting in classroom

[from Souderton Independent]

Souderton's James Gill doesn't want to cut up frogs or earthworms in his classroom anymore.

He became one of two life science teachers in the North Penn School District to embrace cruelty-free dissection alternatives for the seventh grade last year, and next month both teachers will be rewarded for that choice.

It was Nancy Giudotti, the seventh grade life science teacher at Penndale Middle School, who turned Gill on to the free dissection alternatives through Animalearn in Jenkintown. She discovered the classroom resource loan service last school year while attending the Montgomery County Science Conference and immediately called her coworker to tell him about it.
"It's not the actual animal, but it does serve the basic purpose of helping students understand anatomy and physiology and comparing one animal to another," he said.
    In Gill's gifted level class of about 15, groups of three students run the program on five laptops in place of the traditional dissection lab. Gill has been so pleased with the alternatives that he plans to use them again next year.

The pair picked a good time to try the service, as this school year is the 10-year anniversary of Animalearn's loan program, called the Science Bank. To celebrate, the non-profit organization plans to give away $1,500 worth of dissection alternatives to Gill and Guidotti this September.

Animalearn is the education wing of the American Antivivisection Society, the country's oldest animal rights group, which is also based in Jenkintown. According to Nicole Green, assistant director of education at Animalearn, the organization regularly loans resources to at least 50 classrooms across the country and internationally each year, but what it really wants is a deeper cruelty-free commitment from schools.

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