Educator Center

Animalearn Humane Education Programs & Products

Animalearn provides a whole host of resources for educators, parents, and students at no cost. Our programs are suitable for a variety of educational levels, including K-12, college/university, and veterinary/medical. We offer humane education curricula and educational kits that cover issues ranging from dissection to product testing. Parents, educators, and students can also choose from a large variety of books, brochures, videos, and more, many of which are available for free. Additionally, our Science Bank is home to the latest in high-tech, animal-friendly educational technology for the classroom.

Animalearn conducts free workshops for educators on how to implement our various programs and products in the classrooms, and we also deliver presentations to students and student organizations that are hoping to use or promote non-animal alternatives in their education. Additionally, Animalearn frequently delivers presentations to classrooms, which serve to foster an awareness of and a respect for animals and others.

Animalearn representatives will work individually with educators or students interested in adopting non-animal alternatives in their classroom. We will also assist students who are interested in creating student choice policies at their schools.

Animalearn's Humane Education Products

Available free to educators, parents, and students!

Next of Kin: A Compassionate, Interdisciplinary Science Curriculum

(Grades 2-5 & 6-9)
Written and Developed by Rachel Fouts-Carrico

This comprehensive curriculum contains interdisciplinary activities on CD-ROM offering students options to participate in decision-making and cooperative problem solving tasks. The activities are designed to promote awareness, attitudes, and actions to solve the problems that all animals are faced with whether living in captivity or living in their natural environment.

Animalearn Resource Kit

This informational kit contains literature on alternatives to dissection, opportunities for cost savings, issues related to using animals in education, and our Science Bank catalog.

Frog Fact Files

This colorful kit is filled with frog fact sheets (reproducible) covering topics ranging from the life cycle to dissection. Kit includes a bullfrog poster and frog friend stickers.

Back Issues of AV Magazine

"Humane Science Education: Making the Grade" (Winter, 2006)

"Scientific Strides of Innovation: Alternatives" (Spring, 2005)

"Compassion in Action: Legal and Effective Tools to Help Animals" (Fall, 2003)

"Reaching for the Future: The Evolution of Humane Science Education" (Fall, 2002)

"The Cycle of Kindness: Humane Children for a Humane World" (Winter, 2000)

"Higher Learning? Vivisection in High Schools, Colleges & Universities" (Summer, 1999)

"Dissecting Dissection" (Summer, 1996)

Next of Kin Curriculum

by Rachel Fouts-Carrico, Education Specialist, Friends of Washoe

As a child, I had a second family. They were the chimpanzees we cared for at the Chimpanzee and Human Communication Institute (CHCI), a sanctuary housed on the campus of Central Washington University. When I was in grade school, I would walk up to the sanctuary after school and spend a few hours with my parents and the chimpanzees until it was time for them to go to bed and for us to go home. I would play chase games with Loulis, the youngest chimpanzee. His adopted mother Washoe preferred to sign to me and inquire about what I might have in my pockets. Our human family's dinner conversations would include stories of my day at school and of the chimpanzees' day.

For those who have read Next of Kin by Roger Fouts and Stephen Tukel Mills, this story may sound familiar. The book chronicles 30 years of my family's life with Washoe and her family. It introduces the reader to the cross-fostering project where Washoe, and then later Moja, Tatu, and Dar, were immersed in sign language and, as a result, acquired this human language. It describes how Washoe adopted Loulis and how he acquired his signs from her. The book also enlightens the reader to many issues surrounding captive chimpanzees.

The chimpanzees at the CHCI influenced many of my life decisions, for example, what my career was to be and what grade level I wanted to teach. Washoe, Loulis, Tatu, Dar, and Moja greatly influenced how I viewed life in and out of my classroom. As a middle school teacher, I found what my parents taught me to be very helpful: "to know and to take each individual on their own terms." Middle school students are in a class of their own. To be successful with them, you have to understand and embrace their unique way of being. I grew up watching my parents live this philosophy as they worked with the chimpanzees. They would take each chimpanzee on his or her own terms and build a relationship. As a teacher, I tried to do the same. I would try to get to know my students and use what I learned to help make the classroom a safe, positive, and successful learning environment for them.

My family upbringing was definitely unique, and as I dialogued with my students and later experienced student visits to the CHCI for its Chimposiums, an educational program available to the public, I became increasingly aware just how different it had been. I started talking with people at the CHCI about ideas to meet the needs of school-age visitors, and to help prepare students before they came for a Chimposium. Many students who have attended Chimposiums at the CHCI often come expecting to be entertained instead of gaining a greater understanding of chimpanzees and the concerns surrounding them. Many are unaware of the dire issues that face captive and free-living chimpanzees. These discussions formulated the idea of developing a curriculum to meet these needs as well as help students understand more about chimpanzees in general and the issues that threaten the well-being of free-living and captive chimpanzees.

Thanks to the generous support of the New England Anti-Vivisection Society (NEAVS) and the Ethical Science and Education Coalition (ESEC), a 110-year-old Boston-based animal advocacy organization also interested in developing a humane science curriculum for grades K-12, I was given the opportunity to apply my skills as a teacher and my belief in the humanity of all species to develop a one-of-a-kind humane science curriculum. With synchronicity on our side, a collaborative project with the CHCI and NEAVS/ESEC began. By December 1999, I was beginning to develop a unique and comprehensive science curriculum.

Next of Kin, A Compassionate Interdisciplinary Science Curriculum The Next of Kin curriculum, which can be ordered at or and is also available for free to teachers from Animalearn, is for middle level students (grades 6-9) and elementary students (grades 2-6). (The overlap of the two curricula is to facilitate the different organization of schools: for example, middle schools vs. junior high schools).

These two curricula consist of two sections. The first section deals with free-living and captive chimpanzees. The unit titles from the middle level curricula are:
  • "Our Fellow Animals" discusses scientific classification, the genetic relationship between species, and the similarities and differences between humans and chimpanzees;
  • "Free-Living Chimpanzees" explores the different cultures of chimpanzee groups in Africa, and discusses issues that are affecting their populations;
  • "Captive Chimpanzees" examines the use of chimpanzees in biomedical research, zoos, and the importance of permanent-retirement sanctuaries; and
  • "CHCI" introduces students to the history behind chimpanzee sign language and the chimpanzees at CHCI.
The first section of the elementary curriculum follows the same issues. The restructured units include:
  • General Chimpanzee Information
  • Chimpanzee Issues
  • Chimpanzees and Language
  • Animal Issues
The second section and final unit of both curricula:
  • "A Humane Community" expands the students' awareness to all our fellow animals by focusing on the ethical problems surrounding vivisection (the use of animals in experiments, testing, and surgical training and other education) and the importance of having respect for all living creatures.
Both curricula have teacher introduction sections, lessons appropriate for the unit, a glossary, a bibliography, and a unit assessment.
Like all curricula, the Next of Kin curriculum has an agenda. For example, environmental curricula focus on saving the environment, and curricula from groups like the Massachusetts Society for Medical Research's: "People and Animals United for Health" supports the use of animals in research. The Next of Kin curriculum's agenda is one that is new. It is to allow teachers to give their students information on chimpanzees and animal research that they have not previously received, and to educate students on the ethical issues surrounding captive and free-living chimpanzees and those animals used in experimentation. Next of Kin offers insight that will help students understand some of the reasons why replacing exploitation with compassion can benefit all of life. It is extremely important that both sides of this ethically, scientifically, economically important social issue be offered so that informed decisions can be made. The goal of developing the Next of Kin curricula was to open students' eyes to new information that will enable them to make compassion-based decisions now and throughout life.

Educational Environment
Teachers find the flexibility of the curriculum refreshing. If a teacher wants to use it as a theme for the year, the curriculum has that capacity. If a teacher wishes to use it as a supplement or for those spontaneous teachable moments, it works for that as well! Moreover, many teachers who use the curriculum find that the subject is one that truly captures the students' interests.

Much thought was given to the expectations and teaching standards found in education. The Next of Kin curriculum aligned to the Washington State Essential Academic Learning Requirements is available at the CHCI website This alignment information is a resource for teachers across the United States as they take the curriculum into their classroom.

Teacher Feedback
I have taught for over 20 years. When it comes to the life sciences and topics such as habitat destruction and ethical issues that naturally emerge from studying a sanctuary such as the CHCI, I have not run across a curriculum that helps explain the subject as well as the Next of Kin curriculum. It is balanced yet honest. It doesn't preach. The most important message embedded in the curriculum is respect for life. Nurturing life and developing respect for the incredible variety of living things is one of the highest human values we hope to instill in our students and the Next of Kin does just that. I would be very happy to carry on and on with more specifics if you would like me to! Thanks for contributing toward helping our children become more aware of what effect their actions can make on the world.
-Julie Blystad, 4th grade teacher at Seattle's Bertschi School

Very easy to use and interesting. Teacher friendly. The kids loved it.
-arah Ard, 7th/8th grade teacher

Very informative, enough background for teachers with a little previous background on the issues to use effectively. Very thorough treatment of the issues and interesting/motivating for students. Insightful, inspirational, well thought out.
-Richard Grant, 6th-8th grade teacher

I've come away with more than just [a] curriculum for my students but much to contemplate for my own self [and] of animals and research.
-Anonymous middle level teacher