Homeschooling anatomy/biology units require students to do a frog dissection. As the technology improves, more educational programs are allowing students to use digital programs such as Digital Frog. However, hands-on frog dissections provide the benefit of learning dissection skills, and getting the tactile experience. This especially benefits students planning a career in biology or the medical profession. To complete a frog dissection, students need the proper tools.
In order to do a frog dissection, the student will need a preserved frog. Carolina Biological Supply or Home Science Tools sell grass frogs or bullfrogs. It's preferable to purchase a frog that has been double injected with red and blue latex to identify the veins.
As in all endeavors, safety comes first. The frogs have been chemically preserved, and the student should wear goggles, latex gloves, and a plastic apron. If the student is allergic to latex, then he should use nitrile gloves.
Dissecting Tray and Paper towels
The student will need a work surface. Dissecting trays keep the mess contained, and provide a surface on which to cut and stick dissecting pins. He can clean up any messes using the paper towels.
Dissecting Scissors or Scalpel
The student will cut open the frog's abdomen with either dissecting scissors or a scalpel. Scissors work better for younger students, but older students should have the experience of using a scalpel.
Forceps and Dissecting Probe
The student will remove or push parts of the frog out of the way in order to view all the organs contained in the lesson plan. Forceps or tweezers allow the student to pull things out of the way, and grasp parts for cutting. The dissecting probe serves to push organs aside without damaging them.
In the previous section the student cut and pushed items out of the way to get a better view of deeper organs. Dissecting pins keep these items out of the way. Dissecting pins through the feet hold the frog in place for the dissection.
Once the dissection is over, the student needs to dispose of the carcass. A sealable plastic bag will contain all the waste materials including the gloves and paper towels. Check with local rules to determine the best way to dispose of the waste-filled plastic bag.
Dissecting tools can be purchased individually or in a kit. Several companies offer the kits including DR Instruments and Home Training Tools. Carolina Biological Supply Company sells the kits in bulk. Join with other home schoolers in the area to get a better rate.