Frogs in the Classroom

Frogs and biology classrooms have entwined histories. Though frog dissection became an increasingly common practice in secondary and university education during the 20th century, the practical demands of teaching and the often limited availability of live frogs demanded alternate resources.

Posters and models have the advantages of being reusable, predictable, and large enough for sharing by a large class of students. The Whipple Museum possesses many examples of such teaching tools from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Our Deyrolle Model reflects the visual and non-textual focus of secondary school biology in 19th century France, and underscores the mimetic purpose of models as alternatives to live frog specimens.

Teaching tools from the Cambridge Zoology department offer a glimpse into the objects used, and even made, by educators here in Cambridge. They embody the visual sensibilities encouraged by anatomical study.

Biology instruction today has many more resources than those made of plastic, plaster, and paper. Digital resources, which we will call CyberFrogs, reflect a new, digital approach to scientific training that stands in stark contrast to those represented in our collection.

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