We dissected an earthworm a couple of weeks ago to complement our current Outdoor Hour Challenge studies. The kids requested that we do the dissection outside because they weren't sure they would be able to eat dinner later if we set up in the kitchen. So, we decided to set up in the driveway - yes, in our front yard, for all to see. It was early enough that I didn't think anyone would complain. :-)
I had two earthworms that I bought from Home Science Tools, so I paired the kids up into two teams. Here are Nathan and Allyson, getting ready to pin down their worm. This picture really captures their enthusiasm for this project.
Here are Jordan and Kathryn, pinning down their worm. They were only slightly more enthusiastic than their siblings.
I have no idea what they thought the masks would do; they didn't stay on. I won't gross you out by putting any more pics on this entry. I didn't get very many anyway, as I was busy going back and forth teaching and explaining. If you really want to see them, you can go to my Worm Dissection set.
I wasn't quite sure if the enthusiasm for dissections of my younger years would resurface once I pulled the specimens out. However, as soon as the cutting began, I began to enjoy myself. I was pretty tempted to take over a couple of times, but I refrained and let the kids do the dissecting. Maybe I should order another grasshopper for myself for the next dissection. It actually would be better if I could demonstrate rather than having the kids look at pictures with me explaining. We weren't able to see everything clearly because of some sloppy cutting, but overall I thought it went really well.
I'll list the supplies needed for one dissection specimen in case someone is interested. I purchase my supples from Home Science Tools, but you can find these at any science supply store. I always wait to order until I get a 10% off or free shipping coupon code from their Science Explorations newsletter, which is extremely informative. You do have to check the box to receive promotions when you sign up if you would like to receive coupon code information.
- 1 set Advanced Dissecting Tools (if you aren't sure about doing future dissections, then you only need forceps, dissecting scissors, and at least 1 set of pins for the earthworm dissection)
- 1 Styrofoam dissecting tray
- 1 Earthworm
- 1 Earthworm Dissection Guide (you could use their free earthworm dissection guide, but this one is more comprehensive)
This is what we actually bought since we will be performing more dissections:
- 1 Introductory Dissection Kit
- 1 pair Dissecting Scissors
- 6/pack of 2" Dissection Pins (I wish I had bought the 100/pack)
- 1 pair Stainless Steel Forceps
- 1 8-10" Plain Earthworm
- 1 3-4" Grass Frog
- 1 Large Lubber Grasshopper
- 3 Styrofoam Dissecting Trays
That is enough to do two earthworms, two grasshoppers and two frogs. The Introductory Kit includes everything you need to dissect one earthworm, one grasshopper and one frog (one of each specimen, tools, three styrofoam dissection trays, and a dissection guide for each specimen). I thought that my actual purchase list might be helpful for anyone wanting to do two specimens; it took me some time to make sure I had everything I needed before ordering. We did have to use some sewing pins for our worm because we didn't have enough dissection pins. They worked well for the earthworm, but if I was going to do it again, then I would order the 100/pack.
This was an extremely informative study. We learned some amazing things about earthworms. I'll do a separate entry with earthworm links another time.
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Apr. 20, 2008 - Untitled Comment
Posted by Ellen
I've started a new homeschool meme for Mondays and I thought that you might be interested. If you want to participate, just write a post about a highlight from your past week of home learning. Then, come to my blog and sign Mr. Linky.
Apr. 21, 2008 - Untitled Comment
Posted by lahbluebonnet
We'll be dissecting next year. Ugh. My SIL was going to help but with working and pregnant and active toddler, I may have to beg her! She's a vet so she loves this kind of thing. I've also planned on setting up outside!