Dissecting animals to learn



The cat was layed on a table during dissection. Anyone that didn’t want to dissect could observe.

Only three students chose to participate in the cat dissection.

Three students chose to participate in the cat dissection.










“I like teaching Zoology because I love teaching students about the variety of animals that exist on our planet. The class is structured so that we do a lab almost every day,” says Mrs. Shelly Hogan.

Zoology is one of the first classes to completely fill up each school year.

“I took Zoology because I have always been interested in the biology and anatomy of animals, and I thought it would be really cool to have a hands-on experience with it,” says Emily Schuman ’16, a zoology student.

The class completes dissections almost every day.

“It is important to dissect because that is the only way that a student of biology can truly understand the anatomy of an organism and compare it with other organisms. I wouldn’t want a surgeon operating on me who had only learned by virtual dissections,” says Hogan.

Starting from the least complex organism, the fluke worm, to the most complex, the cat, students fill out worksheets and see the evolution of each species with their own eyes.

“I do like dissections. They give you a chance to see the real thing rather than something online or in a book,” says Schuman.

Most students have favorite animals they like to dissect or ones they absolutely hate.

“I liked dissecting the shark because it was easier to see all of the different parts and it looked cooler overall. My least favorite dissection was the squid because it was so delicate, and I had already dissected it before,” says Schuman.

Hogan loves to watch the students partake in each dissection and watch their reactions when they discover something new.

“I enjoy dissecting the pregnant Dogfish sharks because you never know what you will find inside. Most of the students enjoy this dissection the most because they like finding the babies and other surprises,” says Hogan.

The cat dissection offered on the day of the final causes students to debate whether they want to participate or not.

“I’m not sure how I feel about the cat. It seems cool to look at a larger and more common animal, but because it is so common and complex in thinking and emotions, I think it is a little creepy and sad,” says Schuman.

Zoology class is a chance to learn about species very similar to the human race.

“I offer the cat dissection as an optional dissection because I want to give the students the opportunity to see a mammal with internal anatomy that is very similar to our own,” says Hogan.

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