|Domestic cat dissection vs. models in secondary school education: student attitudes and outcomes.|
|Emma K. Grigg, Lynette A. Hart. University of California, Davis, School of Vet. Med., Davis, CA, United States
Increasing public concern about the use of animal dissection in education is driving development of alternatives to animal use. Clay modeling has proven successful in achieving comparable or superior learning at the undergraduate level, but has not been tested at the secondary school level. This study tested the effectiveness and appeal of clay models vs. traditional cat cadaver dissection in teaching human anatomy to high school students. The use of clay models produced better short-term learning outcomes for high school students when compared with cat dissection; no difference was found between groups in student final exam scores. No significant differences were found in student perceptions of enjoyment or usefulness between the two lab techniques. Although many students (in both groups) still chose dissection as the preferred technique after the lab exercise, the proportion of students who chose dissection decreased after the lab, for both groups. Students in this study strongly valued the ability to make choices about what methods are used in their classrooms.