dissection guides

Free Dissection Guides and Resources

Help for teachers new to (or returning to) dissection labs.

Dissecting preserved specimens plays an important role in biology education—but teaching dissection labs for the first time can be stressful. Our free guides and resources can take some of the stress out of teaching your first (or first in a while) dissection lab.

Why is dissection important? Because it:

  • Helps students learn about the internal structures of animals
  • Helps students learn how tissues and organs are interrelated
  • Connects structure and function
  • Gives students an appreciation of the complexity of organisms through hands-on learning
  • Provides one of the most memorable and instructive units in a biology course

Our guides include overview information about the specimen; labeled diagrams of its internal and external anatomy; and instructions and videos to guide the dissection. These free resources also provide guidance on group sizes, suggested class time, required supplies, personal protective equipment (PPE), and links to other helpful information.

Dissection Guides

Start Your Dissections Here

We’ve compiled this dissection guide sampler to help you get started. You can access all the guides on our Dissection Guides page. Be sure to visit our Basics of the Dissection Lab and Dissection Buying Guide pages for background on lab management and specimen selection.

Cow Eye Dissection

Earthworm Dissection

Fetal Pig Dissection

Frog Dissection

Grasshopper Dissection

Heart Dissection

Mammalian Kidney Dissection

Perch Dissection

Sheep Brain Dissection


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…

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