Cut, Poke, and Prod – Dissect a Bug

dissect, grasshopper, bug, animal

Are you ready to dissect a grasshopper?

A great, free learning activity for kids is to dissect a dead bug that you find around the house.  By, dissecting a bug you can learn about the complexity of life as you learn how it’s body is made and works.

It is good to learn about animals from books or even to see them in the wild.  But, nothing will be as memorable as dissecting one to see the insides.  I still remember dissecting a frog in science class in high school.  You and your kids can easily explore how an invertebrate or bug works on the inside for a great, memorable activity.

What Tools Do I Need To Dissect a Bug?

Luckily, you don’t need very much to try this activity.  The main tools are a pair of sharp scissors, tweezers (these are like forceps), pins (to hold the bug in place while you work), a magnifying glass, and a piece of cardboard.  The cardboard can serve as your lab table or dissecting board on which you can work and pin the bug in place.

Important note – make sure that you wash your hands very well with soap and water after you are finished.

dissect, bug

You can perform a yellow jacket dissection.

What Kinds of Bugs or Animals Can You Dissect?

There are lots of different kind of bugs that you can dissect.  The best kinds to dissect are ones that you find dead somewhere.  Some of the possibilities include crickets, cicadas, wasps and bees.  Here are some of the common bugs of the Rocky Mountains, some of which you may try dissecting.

If you are curious about dissecting something else, you could always try to dissect a fish.  A fish is very different than bugs because, not only is a fish bigger, but it is a vertebrate.  This mean that fish have a backbone while bugs do not, which are invertebrates.

Head down to the ocean, pond, or creek and try to catch a fish.  Here are tips for parents to take your kids fishing.  If you are lucky or skillful enough to catch a fish, then you can take it home and dissect it.

How To Dissect A Bug?

We are fortunate to live in the internet age, where it is super easy to find just about any information.  I am not going to get into all of the details here because you can do a quick internet search for dissection.  Just look up whatever you are hoping to dissect followed by the term dissect or dissection.  For example, search ‘cricket dissection’ or ‘wasp dissection’.

Parents, I would advise that you supervise this activity if your children are very young.  This is both because the tools are sharp and because the bugs are tiny and require care and precision to dissect.  The magnifying glass will help you see the parts bigger.

Let me know if you have tried this at home.  What bugs have you dissected?