Seventh graders in Robert Clutter’s science classes dissected frogs recently to study how similar the amphibian’s anatomy is to human anatomy.
Each scholar received a frog and a set of tools to use on their scientific exploration. The lesson challenged them to locate and observe organ systems within their frogs and to measure some of the organs that they found.
Some scholars anxiously examined the chest cavity of their frogs to learn more about how they existed. Others squealed as they stared down at the slimy amphibians and reluctantly cut away thin layers of tissue to reveal vital organs.
“Frogs basically have the same structure as humans,” Clutter explained. “They have an esophagus, a heart, reproductive organs, and small and large intestines. The muscle structure in the leg is the same. You can see fibrous tissues in the legs just like human muscle is fibrous.”
Clutter guided his scholars through the anatomy of a frog like a tour guide at a museum. He told them where the heart and liver were located and the stomachs. The scholars then measured the sack that contained the intestines. “We have the same peritoneum in our small intestines,” he said. “It holds everything together.’’
“This is awesome,” said Ivy Scholar Erin Harrison-Sobakin. She has dissected a frog once before. “You get to use a scalpel to cut something open and see things you don’t ordinarily get to see.”
Clutter said the exercise gives scholars a chance to see what a frog’s organ system looks like and have a deeper understanding of human anatomy. Later this school year, students will dissect fetal pigs to continue their adventure in science.
“They share about 95 percent of the same organs as humans,” Clutter said of the pigs. “That is why we can use a pig heart in a transplant because they match most of the time.”
Ivy Scholar Kamyah Wright was pleasantly surprised by the lesson. “I didn’t think I as going to like it, but it’s alright,” she said. “I am learning the different parts of the frog. It’s really interesting.”
Ivy Scholar Sumayah Mohamed says dissecting a frog makes her even more interested in a career as a surgeon. “The body has so many different things to learn about,” she said. “This is fun.”