(Submitted by CHS Sophomore, Jameson Margetts)
On Monday, April 1st, the students of Mr. Bradley’s Advanced Biology class took part in a turtle
dissection. After the students completed their chapter on reptiles, they split up into groups of two or three
and dissected a painted turtle. The students began by examining the external anatomy of the turtle. This
included the feeling the dorsal shell, exploring the mouth and its organs, and counting how many scutes
(plates that comprise the shell) that the turtle had. They, then, removed the plastron -- the bottom shell of
the turtle. This allowed them access to the internal organs of the turtle. Once inside, the students
removed the pectoral muscles of the turtle. After these were removed, the students located the liver, gall
bladder and excised them.
Students use special lab tools, such as a scalpel, to perform the dissection. The students found the heart
and it’s three chambers, and they identified the lungs. Students then cut open the stomach, and removed
and measured the intestines. Throughout the lab, students compared the organs to that of a frog, to see
the adaptations and advancements that reptiles have. For instance, the turtle’s lungs have much more
alveoli --lung sacs-- inside, than frogs, making breathing much more efficient. The students finished up by
finding the kidneys, the spleen and the reproductive organs. After cleaning up the lab, students filled out
a lab report.
Dissections like these help students learn even more about the animals they study by giving them
hands-on experience. They provide an in depth analysis for students and a memorable event. With this
new information, students prepare for their chapter test and then on to the next dissection.
Ashley and Paige show the length of a turtle intestine