What's in a pig's foot? - Musculoskeletal System Dissection Laboratory




  • Journal/blank paper to record observations
  • Laboratory Worksheet
  • Pen/Pencil
  • Dissection tray (one for each group of 4)
  • Scalpel (one for each group)
  • Forceps (two for each group)
  • Diagram of pig foot (one for each group)
  • Safety goggles (one for each student)
  • Plastic gloves (enough for every student)
  • Lab coat (enough for each student)
  • Disinfectant (for after the laboratory)

Length of Lesson: 75 minutes

Content Area: Biology

  1. Prior to begining the laboratory you will have watched the videos posted on the anatomy of the hand and the proper way to hold a scalpel. You will also be responsible for completing a concept map outlining all components of the musculoskeltal system. Please bring your Journal with the pre-lab questions to this lab.

  2. When you enter the classroom you will be assgined a group of four students and you will be asked to put on your lab coat, safety goggles and gloves and to get your dissection kit from the back of the room. Remember to write down these materials as they will need to be included in your write-up. There will be a blank section to record this information on the worksheet. (5 minutes)

  3. You will then be asked to organize yourselves around one lab bench so that every lab member can easily participate and view the dissection tray. The teacher will come around and give each group one pig foot for dissection. (2 minutes)

  4. Follow the directions on your lab worksheet to complete the pig dissection. If you have further questions be sure to ask the teacher. (50 minutes)

  5. Make sure you are recording your answers either on the lab worksheet or in your journal. Either way, this will be your rough copy.  You will be responsible for making a good copy of your lab report and handing it in two days following the laboratory.

  6. Once the laboratory is complete, make sure that you have all the questions answered for the lab write up. Dispose of the pig foot, any pieces that have been dissected and your gloves into the biohazardous waste container. Wash the tray, scalpel, forceps and workspace using the disinfectant. Once everything is clean, you may return to your desks. (8 minutes)

  7. When you get to your desk write down what you enjoyed most about this dissection. You will then be asked to share this with the person sitting next to you. Following this, a short class discussion will be held to talk about what we learned and what we enjoyed about this experiement. (10 minutes)

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