Virtual Dissection

Students performing a virtual frog dissection

6th to 8th grade

A Humane Alternative

Engage and Assess

Participants will quickly sketch a frog, labeling the body parts they know. As they think about frog anatomy, they will generate a list of questions to explore during the virtual dissection process.


  • Developing, asking and answering questions
  • Obtaining and communicating information

Science Concepts / Standards

  • MS-LS1-3 Structure, Function and Information Processing
    • Use argument supported by evidence for how the body is a system of interacting subsystems composed of groups of cell
  • MS-LS1-7 Matter and Energy in Organisms and Ecosystems
    • Develop a model to describe how food is rearranged through chemical reactions forming new molecules that support growth and/or release energy as this matter moves through an organism.


  • 60-minute experience, a portion will take place outside
  • Maximum of 35 students and seven adults

Participants visit the National Amphibian Conservation Center with an educator to make and record observations of amphibians. Participants will return to the Ford Education Center and use technology to explore the life cycle of a frog, then virtually dissect a frog. During the dissection, participants will record answers to their preliminary questions and continue to write new questions as they arise. The program concludes with a discussion about the participants’ remaining questions, with the education staff providing resources for participants to explore any additional questions.

Celebrating and Saving Wildlife

Traditional dissection may involve taking animals from the wild, mass breeding, and using toxic chemicals for preserving the specimens to then be used as a tool to learn from. Alternative dissection provides a humane method to learn about anatomy and physiology.

Take Action

  • It is your right to be provided with an alternative dissection option due to animal welfare concerns.
  • Look up alternatives on

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