Pluck Dissection

As a Physics teacher, I’ve got a long list of classic demonstrations at my disposal for use in teaching everything from pressure to electricity to conservation of energy. I’ve had to teach some Biology in the past and I think it’s fair to say that Biologists are not so well resourced when it comes to demonstrations.

A large part of the reason for doing demonstrations in class, I think, is to get our students to look closely at the world, to really observe it in detail. In Biology, that means taking a close look at living things and the components of which they’re made. This video is unlike any of the other demonstration films we’ve made so far, but it was one of the most interesting I’ve worked on – I came away convinced that if I teach Biology again, I’d definitely make more use of dissection as a teaching tool.


Get Set Demonstrate logoThis film was produced for the Get Set Demonstrate project. Click through for teaching notes, and take the pledge to perform a demonstration to your students on Demo Day, 20th March 2014.

8 thoughts on “Pluck Dissection”

  1. Excellent video, I shall be sharing this with my team as I was the only one who did this demo this year.

    I have often had many students refuse to touch the dissection material when passed around the class, this is frustrating as feeling the rings of cartilage and comparing that to an artery I think provides a nice stimulus to help learning.
    I take sections of artery, trachea, bronchi and alveolar tissue and place them in a clear plastic glove (the kind students wear while doing a dissection) then I tie up the end. This way all students can feel the tissue without having to get their hands messy.

    I blow into the tube to inflate the lungs and then pinch the end and remove my mouth before letting go to allow them to inflate. I think this helps demonstrate the elastic recoil of the lungs as an air pump might mean that students think that the pump sucking the air out of the lungs is what is deflating it rather than the recoil of the lungs.

    I was lucky to get a heart & lungs which had a liver on as well. This also allowed the students to compare the different densities of the tissue. I’ve also had plucks which go all the way up to the tongue and have the larynx and some oesophagus on too.

    Glad to see there are some biology demonstrations. Keep them coming,

    1. Thanks Joe – we’re working on some Biology stuff that I think will be new and exciting to teachers – hope to post it here before Easter if we get done in time…

  2. The pluck dissection was really helpful. I consider it my duty as a scientist to have a good overarching knowledge of all areas of science, not just my specialism of physics. I’m very comfortable doing dissections like this but it’s always good to pick up extra details from the other specialisms.

  3. I teach all sciences at GCSE level, and very much appreciate being made aware of the existence of such detailed demonstrations for free.

    IMHO, science without practicals & demonstrations is like life without emotion.

  4. I’m not going to spend a lot of time checking, but if I had to say; the reason you have an extra bronchus is because you are dissecting a lamb and not a human. Human’s have two primary bronchi as you stated. There is not an over simplification of that arrangement in the charts. I know pigs have a third bronchus and it would not be surprising to see it in other animals as well.

Leave a Reply