Presentation of Learning: Victor Shea

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Exploring Animal Anatomy: Biological Dissections

Fifth-grade iLEAD Exploration learner Victor Shea loves cells and biology and often looks through his microscope at pond water to discover the microscopic creatures inside. When his mom suggested that he complete some dissections, his answer was a resounding “YES!”

His objective for the project was to explore the anatomy of different animals and to discover how life has evolved from simple organisms to more complex. Since he has studied the human body a great deal, he was excited to compare them to other organisms. He found the crayfish dissection enjoyable because he got to see the teeth crayfish have in their stomachs. When he dissected the pig, he got to see their large heart and lungs. He was surprised to find that when he dissected the frog, it had a beetle inside its stomach!

Though he enjoyed this project, he did run into some obstacles along the way. One challenge he faced was opening the specimen up properly. When he did the worm dissection, he accidentally cut into an intestine, making it spill dirt. After some practice and studying, he learned how to cut properly for dissection: “Now, I’m making good cuts left and right.” Another challenge Victor faced was identifying the specimen’s different organs, especially when they are all the same color!

Whenever Victor begins a project, such as dissections, coding a new video game, or creating a digital song, he has a vision of how he would like it to turn out. He must plan out all the steps and designs that he knows he must take, and be prepared for any “bugs” along the way. In doing so, Victor is beginning with the end in mind, which also involves setting goals and how the choices he makes will affect his goals. Victor has also been applying this to more long-term goals, as well. He hopes to be a molecular biologist one day and knows he must continue to make choices leading in that direction. Being enrolled at iLEAD Exploration has allowed him to pursue his interests in these areas, which has led him to complete twelve dissections so far!

Our Schoolwide Learner Outcome, self-control, was also a factor in this project. Each time he began a new dissection, Victor had to focus and maintain self-control in order to be able to identify all the parts of the organisms. Not only does he have to be very precise with his cuts, but he also has to deal with any mistakes without becoming overly frustrated. There are no second chances with dissection, once a cut has been made there is no going back!

Use the resources below to complete a dissection project!


Home Science Tools dissection kits

Virtual Dissection bank and other resources



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