Science, Ethics and Animals

GCSE Science Resource

KS4: ages 14-16Website

This free interactive resource from RSPCA Education is linked to GCSE science. It has two main activities designed to stimulate ethical debate and scientific research, and get students thinking about the way we interact with, value and use animals in our daily lives.

The ‘Ethics Court’ activity gets students to explore the validity of common opinions about scientific and technological developments relating to animals, such as cloning, food production and medical research. Through video footage, students consider controversial statements, which pose complex ethical dilemmas. They can access further background information to consider the evidence, which directs them to use scientific knowledge and research in order to draw their own conclusions about each issue, after which they can hear what an RSPCA scientific officer has to say. The activity can be carried out by an individual, or in a group, and then results can be compared with those of other schools.

The ‘Value of Life’ activity highlights the often unconscious value judgements that we make about animals. By requiring students to make choices about which animals they value most, the activity challenges them to think about those judgements. A series of facts about each animal is designed to make them think more deeply about their choices, and they can access additional guidance about what we know of animal sentience and how our day-to-day actions can affect animal welfare.

This is an excellent site, with lots of background information for teachers, which will help students think deeply about many different ethical issues.


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