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  • In this activity, students consider some of the ethical issues involved with keeping earthworms (and other animals) captive in a classroom setting.

    By the end of this activity, students should be able to:

    • list the five freedoms that all animals should be able to experience
    • describe the optimal conditions for keeping earthworms in the classroom based on the five freedoms and their knowledge of earthworm life processes
    • review the conditions under which the class is housing, handling and studying their earthworms.

    Download the Word file (see below) for:

    • introduction/background notes
    • what you need
    • what to do
    • extension ideas
    • student worksheet.

    Activity ideas

    To more fully explore this issue or to explore other ethical issues, check out these Hub resources.

    Useful links

    Online version of the teachers’ guide Caring for Animals.

    The New Zealand Association of Science Educators (NZASE) provide resources on animal ethics.

    These web links below provide comprehensive information about the laws and guidelines and how they apply to animals.

      Published 12 June 2012, Updated 16 September 2021 Referencing Hub articles
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