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Class case study: Ethics of using animals in research



Upper Primary


Living World


The case study provides an example of introducing ethical thinking into the science classroom to explore a controversial issue. It shows how the ethical frameworks in the Ethics thinking tool and a range of classroom activities can be integrated to scaffold ethical thinking. In this example, year 8 students considered the ethics of using animals in research.

This case study formed part of the research prior to developing the Ethics thinking tool and, as such, uses ideas that informed the development of the tool and not the tool itself. The Ethics thinking tool provides additional support to help structure students’ thinking and decision-making using ethical frameworks.


To explore when and why animals are used in research and potential harms and benefits, in order to present a reasoned and justifiable argument for or against. To introduce a range of ethical approaches that can be used to support ethical decision-making.


Animal welfare, consequentialism, ethics, ethical frameworks.


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