Fetal Pig Dissection

We dissected fetal pigs.

As educators of our own children, many of us are intimated by the highly technical high school course work such as biology with dissection. Despite our reservations, creating opportunities in these fields can have a profound effect on our children.

Recently, my daughter experienced biology via dissection. A local mom put together a series of classes designed to teach biology. Over the course of several weeks, my daughter dissected a pig eye, a sheep's heart, a sheep's brain, sheep's kidney, created marrow slides from the long bone of a cow, and dissected a fetal pig. Some of the specimens were ordered through a school scientific supply company and others were obtained from a local butcher.

Since there were around twenty children involved in the class, who eagerly participated, several doctors were invited to assist with the final class. There was an overwhelming response from the medical community. In fact, some offers had to be turned down. In the end, three doctors and two veterinarians met with the kids to teach them more about anatomy.

Having the doctors there was wonderful. They were able to point out different internal parts and answer questions which would have taken parents lots of time to research. Not only that, they explained how different parts of the pig related to their jobs and experiences in medical school. In school, they had to dissect very carefully (not in a destructive way), so they could use their specimen over and over again throughout the course. They taught the kids to cut a little, and then dissect with their fingers. It had been a long time since they had done a dissection, and were just as excited as the kids. Several of them admitted to brushing up on their pig anatomy before coming to class.

Once the detailed lab was complete, both the kids and doctors were interested in viewing the brain and spinal chord. They all worked an extra hour to uncover the brain and spinal column visible in the above photo. Overall, the kids spent about 2 1/2 hours dissecting their pigs.

I'm still intimidated by dissection, but have a few years before it will be necessary to revisit the topic. Now I see how vital this exposure is and will make sure my younger kids get a similar opportunity.

Finishing Strong - Homeschooling the Middle and High School Years
Check out these great blogs full of educational activity ideas.


  1. My first thought was that's gross, closely followed by that's amazing! I know one of my children would have LOVED this, she's always wanting to watch anatomy videos on YouTube. Well done on finding such a great experience for your children.

  2. AWESOME!!!! This is such a fantastic experience for your children. Well done! I'm so glad I found you on the Hip Homeschool Moms link up!

  3. Dissection is the thing that I had the hardest time with at school. I don't know why, but I just really struggle with dead thing. Ironically I was a biology major, so I had to confront dissection many time, including a semester long human cadaver lab. Not sure how I made it through that one! Anyways, I think what you described was a great opportunity for those kids and I think it's awesome that you got so much support from those doctors!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...