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Comparing Methods

Simulations & Models

Dissection

Students can repeat the exercise until they get it correct If students make a mistake, the specimen is ruined. They can’t go back and try again.
Students’ knowledge is tested at every step; students must show a grasp of the concepts before advancing. Difficult for the teacher to monitor every group of students; errors may not be caught until too late.
Detailed information about organs, their functions and locations is available at the click of a mouse. Students may be too concerned with procedure to gain adequate knowledge about the organs.
On-screen videos of actual dissections allow students a close-up look at the procedure. Demonstrations by the teacher may not be easily seen by all students.
Programs can be edited to meet specific students needs without other students’ knowledge. All students need to complete the same dissection procedure, resulting in some students feeling frustrated.
Once the software is installed there is no further set-up needed. Students who miss a lab due to illness can make it up at any time. Lab supplies and utensils must be set out before every lab, and cleaned and put away afterwards. Difficult for a student to make up a missed lab.
Students can learn about biology without feeling they are responsible for an animal’s death or adding to the diminishment of a species. Students may act out during a dissection lab – often because they don’t know how to express their ethical concerns, or don’t feel comfortable enough to express their feelings appropriately.
Costs are kept low since the software can be used year after year. Compared to the cost of prepared specimens, software pays for itself in one to three years. Preserved specimens must be purchased every year for each pair of students; prices can vary and usually increase each year.