Students dissect a cow eye as part of a unit on anatomy or the senses. This guide contains step by step instructions on how to cut the eye and identify the major features. Cow eyes can be purchased from Amazon or biology supply companies. You can also use sheep eyes, which are slightly less expensive.
Students identify the cornea, sclera, retina, vitreous humor, lens, and optic nerve. The dissection is very simple and can easily be conducted with younger students. If you don’t want to use a scalpel, dissecting scissors will also work!
The worksheet also contains questions and a labeling exercise. Students will need other resources, like a textbook or google to label the drawing. I place lab guides and models in the lab for the dissection for students to reference. Generally, this follows the chapter on the senses.
My entire anatomy course can be found at their class site.
Students are also take a photo of their eye and upload to social media, though this is optional. My students do love sharing their photos with their friends and I enjoy seeing the pictures they share on twitter under the hashtag #coweye. You can also place the assignment in Google Classroom (or other LMS) and have students upload photos there.
I find that having students take photos encourages them to be more careful during the dissection.
Grade Level: 7-12
Time Required: 45-60 min