I came up with this assignment because I wanted my students to have a little background knowledge on their animal before digging into dissections. I have block class periods and it takes my students one full block class period to complete. This assignment can easily be broken up into class periods. I purchase the Beginners Kit from biologyproducts.com which includes a worm, frog, rat and fish. I then separate students out into groups and they choose one organism to dissect. After their research and dissection, they share what they learned with the other groups.
I have the assignment broken up into two parts:
Part 1: Students research the animal species that they are assigned to. The research includes topics like classification of the animal, habits, life cycle, adaptations, etc. The research portion of the activity includes 8 research questions (2 pages) and a citations sheet (1 page). All students will receive the same documents for Part 1.
Part 2: In this part of the research there are four different documents students can receive depending on what they are dissecting (frog, worm, rat, fish). Students will watch a video on how to dissect, document where initial incisions should be made, what tools should be used to make the incisions, and identification of important organs.