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Opposing Viewpoints: Dissection is a valuable part of the curriculum

Posted By Tony Wang On June 10, 2010 @ 4:11 am In Editorials and Opinions | Comments Disabled

From owl pellets to guinea pigs, all types of things have been dissected to learn more about their insides and their functions. During our final year of elementary school, many of us dissected an owl pellet to examine the eating habits of the owl. More recently, the AP and Honors Biology classes at South dissected a fetal pig to learn about its different organs, glands, and muscles. While some students are more than eager to get started tearing their pig apart, the more squeamish wince at the thought of opening anything that was once alive.

The dissection of animals has raised many controversies over animal rights. There have been arguments over whether or not animal dissection at schools should be banned. Dissecting animals helps us learn more about animals and how they function; on the other hand, it hurts and ultimately kills the animal that is used.

The truth is, animal dissection may harm the animal, but it promotes the superiority of the human race. We, as animals, learn more about how our own bodies work by experimenting on other animals. The only other alternative to that would be to dissect other humans, which consequently, is even more immoral. All of the medication that we use was developed by scientists who tested on other animals similar to humans, such as mice, to ensure its safety and effectiveness. Without animal dissection, our human race would suffer consequences: we would live less healthy lives, and perhaps more painful lives, because medication would not be as readily available.

For students, dissection confers similar benefits, although to a lesser degree. Although students are not finding life-saving cures, they are dissecting to promote their own education. Hands-on experience makes learning more interactive and avoids the boredom students acquire from listening to droning lectures or looking at monochrome powerpoints, which commonly results in half the class falling asleep.

Dissection offers an active learning environment in which students can learn the anatomy of an animal.

Research has shown that students remember 90% of what they physically perform, but only about 10% of what they see or hear. What better is there to learn about the small intestines or the pancreas than by feeling the wriggling organs with your very own forarms or hands?

Dissection also introduces another learning method to students. Research has shown that students learn more effectively when exposed to the same material via different means.

For example, if students are first lectured about animal anatomy and are then allowed to dissect, they would be more likely to recall the information they learned. The brain forms two different paths from different sections of the brain, which strengthens memory recollection.

A common argument against animal dissection is that animals are cruelly treated. However, what the actual dissection does is in no way inhumane, since the animal is already dead. Moreover, animals used for dissection are usually euthanized gently. This is done not only to treat the animal humanely, but also to ensure that the animal is not injured in any way before dissection.

Dissection provides a realm of knowledge that can be replaced by no other means of learning; it is as real as it gets. Though many may point to useful internet dissections that even offer high quality photographs and labeled diagrams, simply the act of using forceps and scalpels provides an irrevocable experience that can never be forgotten. While looking at pictures of a virtual dissection may provide the same quality of information, it again reverts back to the traditional method of learning, involving, looking, and listening.

As helpful of an educational source dissection may be, cutting open any once-living organism may be against the ethical standards of many students. As a result, there is by no mean- s any requirement that a student partake in a dissection experiment. While teachers encourage dissection, they are aware that they have no right to force someone to do something that violates genuine ethical values.

This protects students who are against dissection from jeopardizing their grade. Therefore, dissection is beneficial and also does not affect those who are against it.

Animal dissection is such a useful tool for biology classes to use; in America, high schools dissect over six million animals every year, which shows that biology teachers approve of the benefits of dissecting animals. There is no other way for students to gain such a unique and hands-on form of learning about the anatomy of animals.

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URLs in this post:

[1] Opposing Viewpoints: Dissection is wasteful and uneducational: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/06/10/opposing-viewpoints-dissection-is-wasteful-and-uneducational/

[2] Science teacher McLaren fulfills longtime dream in the Galapagos: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2009/05/13/science-teacher-mclaren-fulfills-longtime-dream-in-the-galapagos/

[3] Suzy Goose and the Christmas Star: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2009/12/23/suzy-goose-and-the-christmas-star/

[4] Opposing Viewpoints: Is technology a turnoff? Con: Upgrading your intelligence: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2008/09/24/opposing-viewpoints-is-technology-a-turnoff-con-upgrading-your-intelligence/

[5] Gabe’s goodbye: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/02/10/gabe%e2%80%99s-goodbye/

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