chicken wing

Explore the structures and functions of muscle tissue

Essential question

What are the structures and functions of muscle tissue?


  1. Observe muscle tissue.
  2. Explain movement based on muscle attachment.
  3. Practice dissection techniques.


There are 3 different types of muscle tissue. Smooth muscle can be found in organs in the digestive system, reproductive system, and circulatory system. This type of muscle moves materials through and around the body; for example, smooth muscle tissue in the esophagus squeezes undigested food from the mouth to the stomach in a process called peristalsis.

Cardiac muscle tissue is found in the heart. This type of muscle tissue contains a large amount of mitochondria, which are required for the lifelong contraction and relaxation of the heart muscle.

Skeletal muscle tissue is found throughout the body, attached to many bones and skin. This type of tissue is controlled voluntarily or involuntarily and allows us to move, maintain posture, and breathe.

Part A: Observe the structure of 3 types of muscle tissue.

Use these images to help you identify the prepared muscle slides given to you.


592838 Labomed® CxL Cordless Trinocular Microscope
313256 Mammal Skeletal Muscle Slide, 7 µm, H&E
313340 Mammal Smooth Muscle, c.s. 7 µm H&E
313388 Mammal Cardiac Muscle, sec. 7 µm H&E
Draw and label the tissue you observe under the microscope in the space provided.
Histology slides in a box.

Using Histology Slides to Enhance Mammalian Dissection

There are 4 main types of tissue: epithelial, muscle, nervous, and connective. Each type has a particular function and can be found to some degree in most organs. In order to understand the structure and function of each type of tissue, it is important to view them microscopically. Many tissues viewed with the naked eye […]

Part B: Examine musculature of a chicken wing. Make comparisons to human musculature.


  • Dissection kit (scissors, blunt tip probe, scalpel, dissecting pins, forceps)
  • Dissection tray or mat
  • Gloves
  • Raw chicken wing
621775 Dissecting Scissors
706335 Nitrile Disposable Gloves
624084 Dissecting Forceps
626524 Scalpel Handle
629132 Handi-Pins
621096 Student Dissecting Set
629004 Dissecting Pan
627405 Huber Mall Probe
dissection supplies

Basics of the Dissection Lab

Use these videos to guide students through proper handling and cleaning in the dissection lab. There are a few basic dissection lab skills that are important for students to know. Use these videos to help guide students through proper handling and cleaning in the dissection lab. Check back for new videos periodically. Changing scalpel blades […]


Using scissors, carefully lift the skin and make a small cut at the elbow.
  1. Obtain dissection materials and the raw chicken wing.
  2. Observe the external anatomy of the wing.
  3. Feel the bone structure through the tissue.
  4. Using scissors, carefully lift the skin and make a small cut at the elbow.
  5. Carefully cut the skin from the elbow toward the wing tip and then toward the head of the humerus.
  6. Using forceps, gently pull the skin away from the muscle and cut the connective tissue between the skin and muscle. Be careful not to cut the muscle.
  7. Remove all skin.
  8. Identify the bicep and tricep muscles in the wing.
  9. Gently separate the muscles from one another, leaving them attached to the bone.
  10. Carefully pull each of these muscles and observe the movement of the lower limb.
Identify the bicep and tricep muscles in the wing.

Discussion questions

  1. Explain differences in the 3 types of muscle tissue you observed.
  2. Discuss how the structure of each muscle type is specific to muscle function.
  3. Describe the movement of the chicken wing produced by the bicep muscle.
  4. Describe the movement of the chicken wing produced by the tricep muscle.
  5. Working together, how does the wing musculature allow the chicken to fly?
567426 3B Skeletal Muscle Microanatomy Model
563026 Functional Sarcomere Model
203526 ATP Muscle Kit
Human Musculature

Muscular System

Muscular System Flex and extend, contract and relax! You may have heard these commands in an exercise or dance class. They’re also commands your muscles and muscle fibers receive constantly from your nervous system. The human body consists of over 650 muscles categorized into 3 types: smooth, skeletal, and cardiac muscle. Skeletal muscles, also called […]

frog dissection

Dissection Buying Guide

Our guide includes specimen suggestions based on grade level and specimen complexity, needed dissection and safety supplies, and options for instructional materials. Choosing Your Specimen The simple chart below will help you decide which preserved specimens would be right for your classroom. To effectively use the grid, consider the experience level of your students and […]

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