I have had three children navigate their version of experiencing dissection in the category of biology. My first child, Eric, took a class at our Natural Science Center shortly after moving to North Carolina, so he was probably around 14 years old. This was a “homeschool class” that was said to be designed to fulfill this and that educational requirement in this and that. You know the stuff that is normally said that would be appealing to school-based thinking, but doesn’t matter at all to me. But, it did mention dissecting some things and I felt that Eric would be interested in the whole biology aspect and could tolerate a smaller version of dissecting. Eric tended to like a class situation for something like this. He attended and if I recall, they were in groups of two, and they dissected a cow eye and a pig fetus, I think.
Abbey, my second born, was interested in delving into hands-on experiences to determine what type of animal-based career she might be interested in for her future. An opportunity was discovered to attend an eighth-grade veterinary camp at Michigan State University when she was around 14. She had to fill out an application with essays, along with my having to fill out forms and essays as her “science teacher”, in order to be accepted into the program. Abbey was accepted and spent an intensive week doing a myriad of diverse hands-on activities to help her understand what it would take to succeed in the university program as well as the field. It was there that she had several opportunities for dissection, as well as observing a variety of actual surgeries. Here is a picture of one of her dissection opportunities:
Eli, my third born child, is my latest to go through the biology dissection. Science is one of those subjects for him that was right in the middle. He has a basic interest in science, especially since the hands-on aspects of the experiments makes sense to him, but the textbook aspect of it, or the verbal explanations, could be a bit of a struggle since language is difficult for him. Because he has been my first child that knew as a teen that he wanted to go to a university as soon as he could for computer programming, I thought science was a great subject for him to explore learning through a textbook. Eli had enough interest/knowledge from the hands-on aspects of science in order to help him potentially do better with the print material typical of college, so it would be a good experience for him.
So, at 14-15, he worked through Apologia’s Physical Science, and at 15-16 he worked through their General Science, and at 16-17, he made his way through the Biology text (he is currently finishing up with Chemistry). I ordered the traditional dissection package from Apologia’s recommended site and a dissection kit came in the mail followed closely by the specimens of an earthworm, a crayfish, a fish, and a frog. Now those brought me back to my biology days in high school, along with the smell of the preservative! Eli followed the textbooks directions for dissection and answered the questions. Here is a picture that, as noted, also attracted interest from others:
Three children; three different biology dissection experiences; it all works based on their strengths.