(Submitted by CHS Sophomore, Kennady Stack)On November 14, 2018, the students of the Advanced Biology class dissected a turtle as a part of their reptiles unit. In this lab, students were paired up to dissect a painted turtle to learn about the adaptations and differences from amphibians to reptiles.
Students were first asked to remove the plastron, which is the bottom shell, to reveal the strong pectoral
muscles of the turtle. These muscles function like the human shoulder blade. Then the students
compared the liver and gallbladder to that of the bullfrog dissected during the amphibian unit. The liver
of the turtle proved larger than that of the frog, due to the greater demand for more efficient filtration. The
students were also directed to locate the stomach, cut it open, and compare that to the frog stomach.
This process was repeated for the lungs and kidneys, which was found to have significant differences.
For example, the lungs of the turtle had more alveoli, which are air sacs that aid in respiration. The
kidneys were more abundant in nephrons, which creates more efficient excretion. The intestines were
located and studied to understand the digestive system of the turtle. The students had an enjoyable
time learning about the adaptations of reptiles through this lab and will carry on this knowledge to their
next chapter: birds.