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Chicken Wing Dissection Reflective Lesson Plan

Subject: Biology

Grade Level: 9th grade

Lesson Duration: 51 minutes

State Standards:

Danville High School Standard A.4 – Students will be able to identify the major functions of the muscular system. (relates to Goal 12, Standard A, Benchmark 4a-4f; Goal 13, Standard A, Benchmark 4c & 4d; Goal 13, Standard B Benchmark 4a-4e)


1. The students will be able to identify a tendon.

2. The students will be able to identify a ligament.

3. The students will be able to describe the function of a tendon.

4. The students will be able to describe the function of a ligament.

5. The students will be able to describe the function of cartilage found at a joint.

6. The students will be able to identify skeletal muscles and their function.

Materials and Equipment:

Conducting the Activity:

Introduction and Review:




To assess the students I will collect and grade their lab sheets. I will be able to see that they worked through the lab by their answers to the questions about each step.

I will also include questions about tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and muscles on a test or quiz over this material. I may choose to phrase the question, "From the chicken wing dissection…(insert question about lab material)"


I used this lesson in both of my Human Life Science classes at Danville High School. This is a freshman level class for students who aren’t quite ready to begin regular track biology. A few of my students have failed this class previously, and are taking it again in order to get credit to graduate. There are 27 students in each class. In my 6th hour class, I have one student with ADHD. He is on medication, but I often times have difficulty getting him to stay in his seat and on task. I would say both classes are about 50% male and 50% female. They are also about 50% white and 50% black students. Both classes are a bit on the talkative side. They have short attention spans, and would much rather cause problems in the class than pay attention. They were able to choose their own seats which may be a cause of the talkativeness, yet, even after moving some students around, they continue to talk from across the room from time to time. The students for the most part are enjoyable when they are interested in what is going on in class. They are interested in doing activities, working in groups, and getting out of their seats. This activity allowed them to do all three of these things, and for that reason, I think that I worked well with my group.

Learning Goals:

The students did very well on answering the questions both through the lab procedure and the post-lab questions. I feel like giving them the opportunity to actually touch and work with the muscles interested them and allowed them to better understand the information. I actually had students excited to show me the tendons they found in their own chicken wing.


The chicken wings were easy to find at the supermarket. I was lucky enough to have a school with plenty of good dissecting equipment for the lab. I actually made up the lab worksheet myself. I used an already made dissection lab sheet as a guide, but added questions to see that the students were working through all the parts of the lab. Also, the flex-cam was very helpful. I used it to show the students my pre-dissected wing before they even went to their stations. I demonstrated how to remove the skin without damaging the muscle underneath. All the students could see the same thing at the same time, and they were also interested in seeing the use of technology. I have found that using high tech visuals and examples really interests and engages students.

Conducting the Activity:

I really just let the students work through the lab by themselves. I felt like I had explained exactly what they were to do and even showed them examples of what to look for. I walked around with my already dissected wing to help those who were confused. My ADHD student in 6th hour was off task a bit, walking around the room and being off task, but I told him that he needed to go back to his station and work with his partner or else he would receive a zero for the lab. That settled him down pretty quickly. There were a few questions about finding different structures and I simply guided the student to finding their way.

I had one broken scalpel in each class period. In the first class, I hadn’t discussed this in my lab safety discussion at the beginning of the lab. Luckily, the students remembered from their lab safety quiz that they are supposed to tell the teacher about things like that. I remembered to tell the students what to do in the event of a broken scalpel in 6th hour. I also had one minor cut in each class period. I told the students to let me know ASAP if anyone was injured, even the slightest bit. Both girls who cut themselves let me know about the situation and we took care of it.

Clean up also went really well. I told the students that they needed to leave their lab stations as they found them. I have found that making lab clean up worth a few points on the lab grade that students will make sure that it gets done. This is very helpful if you have the class more than once during the day in order to set up for each class to do the lab.


Luckily, none of my students had a problem with doing the dissection. A few were a little grossed out, but once I showed them that they had nothing to be afraid of, they were actively engaged. For students who were absent the day of the lab, I allowed them to make up the lab after school any day for a week after we did it in class. None of the students chose to do this. I also had an alternate assignment asking them questions about muscles, ligaments, tendons and cartilage. It is very difficult to get students to make up work in these two classes. These students are not very motivated to do school work. Most of them are lower level students just looking to pass the class in order to graduate.

The lab did take the entire class period, so I did not use any of the extensions mentioned. I might think to add drawing a sketch to a more advanced group.


The students for the most part met my expectations. They did well on the lab and the questions. They also did fairly well on the exam questions covering the material. For the part in the procedure where it tells them to sketch a tendon, I would change that to sketch the joint and label the tendon. This seemed to be confusing to the students, and I think that it would be easier to assess if the question were more specific.


This was the first lesson that I did with both of these classes all by myself. I think that they were really impressed that I took the time to set this up and allow them to do it. They thought that it was really cool that I had my own dissected wing already done to show them. I was surprised by their maturity in the lab setting. They really seemed engaged and their lab sheets showed learning.

I thought it was nice to be able to do the lab twice with 2 different groups. I forgot a few directions with 3rd hour. I made a note of this and corrected it 6th hour. Both classes actually ran very smoothly for my first time teaching. I really enjoyed myself, and I think the students recognized that. They were for the most part, on task and engaged and they also asked some really great questions as I was circulating. I thought it was great when a group would call me over to show me what they found. They were really getting into the dissection. I think that this was a really good way to engage and interest the students. It was also, fairly easy to set up.

Overall, I would definitely do this lab again in any class. I would recommend it to anyone who is willing to put sharp instruments into their students hands. I enjoyed myself, and I’m sure the students did as well. The students also learned using a hands-on method. I really like this lab and I’m sure I will do it again in the future.


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Name ________________

Period _____ Date ______

Dissecting a Chicken Wing


1. Thoroughly rinse and dry one chicken wing

2. Examine the outside skin tissue. Then, using scissors and forceps, begin to cut the skin and peel it away from the muscle below. Notice the clear connective tissue that holds the skin to the muscles. As you peel off the skin, you may need to cut away some of this connective tissue. Work slowly and carefully with scissors and forceps until all skin is removed.

Describe what the connective tissue looks like. You may use pictures to help describe it.




3. Observe the yellowish clumps of fat tissue found outside the skin.

4. Observe bundles of pale, pink muscle tissue surrounding the bones.

Do you see just one muscle, or are there many muscles present? How can you tell?


5. Use a probe if needed to find the tendons of the chicken wing: shiny, white tissue at the end of muscles. Tendons connect muscle to bone.

Draw and label a picture of the tendon connected to the bone. Describe how it feels.




6. Remove a single muscle by cutting the tendons and peeling the muscle away from the bone.

7. Remove all remaining muscle to expose the bones of the chicken wing.

8. Ligaments connect bone to bone and can be found where two bones come together. Find the ligaments.

9. Cut the ligaments at the joint between the upper and lower wing. Examine how the bones fit into each other.

a. Describe the texture of the ends of the bones at the joint. (This is where cartilage is found)



b. What occurs when the cartilage at your joints wears away?




10. Try snapping a bone in two and examine the inside. Any soft, red material is bone marrow.



1. What type of tissue makes up the "meat" of a chicken?


2. What function is performed by ligaments?


3. What is the function of a tendon?


4. What is the function of the cartilage found at a joint?


5. What are skeletal muscles and what are their functions?



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