Scope on Safety: Responsible use of live animals in the classroomby: Ken Roy

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Keeping live animals in the classroom or laboratory makes science come alive for students. The use of animals in the classroom or laboratory is highly encouraged, providing appropriate care and safety are addressed. This article addresses appropriate safety precautions and describes the types of animals that are suitable for classrooms.

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Reviews (7)
  • on Mon Oct 29, 2018 1:30 PM

This article was very informative. As a student teacher I was curious about the pros and cons of keeping live animals in the classroom. I have also never had a teacher keep one during my K-12 education and was curious why. Some of the obvious cons come to mind, like allergies and risk of danger to the students, staff, and animal, but things like weekend and holiday care are things that never crossed my mind. It may be a better idea to bring the animal in during the applicable units to avoid the weekend and holiday trips to school to care for the animal.

Daniel Hukkanen  (RAVENNA, OH)
Daniel Hukkanen (RAVENNA, OH)

  • on Thu Dec 07, 2017 3:01 AM

This was a very informative article. I was able to get ideas for my safety plan for my future classroom. I am going to be a new teacher so this was vert informative and to the point.


  • on Mon May 28, 2012 1:30 PM

Animals can be fun as classroom pets and great for making observations about animal behavior but they bring with them rules and requirements. NSTA has a position statement called “Guidelines for Responsible Use of Animals in the Classroom’. This is a must to not only read but to have handy to make sure both students and animals have a safe and healthy environment. The author provides a list of safety guidelines that are very helpful. Also included is a list of which animals are appropriate and which are not. All of this is good information for the classroom teacher.

Adah  (San Antonio, TX)
Adah (San Antonio, TX)

  • on Mon Nov 29, 2010 8:00 PM

Excellent summary of the benefits and pitfalls of keeping animals in the classroom from both the human and the animal perspective. Read this BEFORE you invest in a classroom pet.

Patricia McGinnis  (Pottstown, PA)
Patricia McGinnis (Pottstown, PA)

  • on Sun Nov 14, 2010 5:23 PM

In a short column the author encapsulates the basics of animal selection and care in the classroom for teachers and includes web and print references for more information. It is a good starting place for a teacher considering including animals as part of the class.

Bambi Bailey  (Tyler, TX)
Bambi Bailey (Tyler, TX)

  • on Thu Apr 28, 2011 9:51 AM

What could be more engaging for one’s students than to have live animals in the classroom? Allowing students to care for an animal may increase appreciation for all living things and instill a sense of responsibility and stewardship. This article highlights the precautions to consider before introducing any living organism into a classroom environment. The teacher needs to consider first and foremost the impact on the students. Are there allergies to dander, or do the animals pose any inherent health threats to humans? Next the teacher needs to know what the school board policy is on housing live animals in a classroom. Then what are the state and national laws concerning animal safety guidelines? As a teacher brings live organisms into the classroom, he/she needs to weigh the benefits with the time it will take to care for live animals. Once all of these factors have been taken in to consideration, students and their teacher can reap the benefits of including live animals in the

Carolyn Mohr  (Buffalo Grove, IL)
Carolyn Mohr (Buffalo Grove, IL)

  • on Mon Nov 01, 2010 7:58 PM

This article advocates maintaining animals in the classroom as a way to provide curiousity, motivation, and hands-on learning experiences. It succinctly explains the responsiblity of keeping an animal in the classroom; responsibility to both the animal's welfare and to student health. If you are considering housing an animal in your room, this article is a good place to start.

Patricia McGinnis  (Pottstown, PA)
Patricia McGinnis (Pottstown, PA)

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