The Effects of Using Living Sea Animals on the Student’s Emotional States

Claas Wegner, Nora Tonnesmann


Using living animals in school lessons makes it possible for students to have an emotionally charged learning experience. With the example of Thornback rays (Raja clavata), the emotional affects of sea animals on students are investigated. Theoretical aspects can be found in the explanation of activity-oriented teaching, which is organised holistically and student-active. The preparation for and confrontation with the thornback ray was successfully adjusted to the individual needs of the students. The students collectively worked on research issues and the ray was presented as a research object. Besides the emotional adventures of touching a living ray, the students took notes of the most important growth characteristics of the ray. Hence the students encounter the ray as a living animal on different levels. To check the hypotheses of how a living animal influences the students’ emotional state, the PANAS questionnaire is applied. PANAS serves as a snap-shot of the students’ emotional state. Whilst there are no differences found concerning the negative affects, the positive affects show a significant difference between a lesson with and a lesson without a real object. If the lesson comprises a real object, the item attentive is chosen significantly more often than in a lesson without real objects. Additionally, the data was analysed with a t-test, whereat the students in the framework of an activity-oriented lesson show significantly more positive affects compared to a lesson without real objects. The study gives a comprehensive insight into the different emotions of students when confronting them with a real object.

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