3Rs pilot - Can we do research without animals?


Overview   Learning Scenarios   Questionnaires  



The 3Rs pilot aimed to build learning activities to teach secondary school students on whether we can we do research without animals and the 3 R’s legislation (Replacement, Reduction and Refinement) for laboratory animal experimentation.

Six learning scenarios were designed by 12 teachers from accross Europe and tested by volunteer teachers. The learning scenarios can be found below and in the official post-project news article.

Draft versions were shared only teachers participating in the testing to provide feedback for European Schoolnet through the questionnaires set up for this.

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Learning scenarios

Puppy with a blanketHow society uses and misuses Animals?
Topic-Subtopic: Animal welfare – Animals in society
In this learning scenario students will be made aware of the different “uses and misuses” of animals in our societies such as for the production of food and clothing, religion and cultural traditions, entertainment, pet-therapy, etc., and improve their own learning skills. See the final learning scenario.

To use or not to use live animals in science
Topic-Subtopic: Animal welfare – Animals in science
In this learning scenario pupils will learn about the Three Rs principles. They will be confronted with different methodologies used in science in order to raise awareness on the need or not of using live animals for scientific research. See the final learning scenario.


Sustainable science: The Three Rs
Topic-Subtopic: Sustainable science – The Three Rs
This learning scenario leads to the definition of the Three Rs principles and how these principles have been at the basis of the development of a European legislation on the use of animals in experimental laboratories. Emphasis will be given to the important of the Three Rs in science for the development of alternative methods. See the final learning scenario.  

Human-Based Science: Where humans can do it on their own
Topic-Subtopic: Sustainable science – Human-based science
This learning scenario challenges the idea that animal testing is unavoidable due to the lack of alternative options to carry out research and conduct tests. Thus, the aim is to illustrate such innovative methods and the way they are being applied. See the final learning scenario.

Critical thinking: Emotions versus facts
Topic-Subtopic: Critical thinking - Debate on acknowledging emotions and facts
This learning scenario aims at stimulating students to think critically about animal welfare in science. This critical thinking is induced by organising a debate on animal welfare. A public website has been created to  guide the preparation and organisation of the debate. See the final learning scenario.  

Animal experimentation in scientific literacy
Topic-Subtopic: Critical thinking – Science literacy
This learning scenario aims to understand and differentiate good science/bad science (fake news, pseudoscience, etc.), while pupils acquiring knowledge on animal experiments and animal welfare. See the final learning scenario. 


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These are the questionnaires that were filled in by teachers and students before and after every 3Rs learning scenario used in class.

For teachers For students

The students' questionnaires were available in English, Dutch, Spanish, Turkish, Italian and Portuguese.

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About the 3Rs pilot

The 3Rs project built learning activities for secondary school to introduce the principles of the 3Rs - the Replacement, Reduction and Refinement of animal experiments. With these learning activities, students develop their critical thinking and science literacy skills by exploring topics such as ethics in science, how the European Union is protecting the welfare of laboratory animals, and what high-tech non-animal tools are available as alternatives. The learning activities were made available for teachers in a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), run in the European Schoolnet Academy.

The 3Rs project has been funded by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre. This page has been prepared by European Schoolnet (a network of 34 European Ministries of Education which aims to bring innovation in teaching and learning), in collaboration with ECORYS (international company providing research, consultancy and management services) and SYRCLE (Systematic Review Center for Laboratory Animal Experimentation).