Brain Dissection – Virtual Version

Don’t have time or the resources to do a dissection in the classroom? Try this virtual version to supplement your lessons on the brain!

In a traditional anatomy class, students dissect a sheep brain using the Sheep Brain Dissection Guide which walks them through identifying first external features of the brain and then internal features.

In the classroom lab, I circulate around the room and help students identify structures or show them how to make cuts. Sheep brains are purchased from biological supply companies and are in a fixed solution, though I sometimes go to the butcher and get a fresh brain so that students can compare the textures.

I also have human brain models set out for students to compare structures on the sheep brain to the human brain.

brain model

For students that do not have access to specimens (remote learners), this activity guides them through some of the same steps. I have used this during the pandemic, but also for students who were absent during the lab.

Students read the descriptions and drag labels to the photos. The final slides ask students to match a description to a structure and label the whole brain, similar to the final task done in the real dissection.