I received a few questions from readers about the specimens and tools that I use in the Biology class. I will attempt to answer them here. 🙂
Marty and Judy asked, “What exactly was wrong w/ the specimens?”
I placed an order with a favorite homeschool science supply company. This is what I got. Notice the size of the box compared to the size of the frog. Now think about five frogs, five owl pellets, five worms (smashed at the bottom), box of dissecting pins, and a box of scalpel replacement blades, in the same box. Two orders came like this.
I emailed the company and they graciously refunded my shipping cost and replaced an owl pellet instruction sheet, that had been wadded up and stuffed in the box. I am happy with the company, but I will not order specimens from them again.
I will be ordering my specimens from Carolina Biologicals . They offer specimens in individual bags or in buckets. They cost a little more, but worth it. Carolina Biologicals have a great customer service and quick shipping. I think any biological company would be a better place to order from, than the “kits” you can get at homeschool stores. That is my opinion.
Korey said, “Bio Corporation sends the larger specimens in buckets and the smaller specimens in jars so they maintain their shapes nicely.” Sweet!! I’m checking them out.
I hope to have enough students to get specimens in buckets next year. Take a look at the difference.
This was in a bag. It is small, color is off, and missing one claw.
This one is from a bucket. It is larger, color is really nice, and it is in great shape.
Judy also asked, “what do you think is a good amount of time to do a dissection?”
That depends. The worm we were able to dissect in the 1.5 hours that we have available. The rest of the specimens, I’d like to have had 2 to 2.5 hours. We saved a lot of time this year, by taking pictures for the students to label instead of sketches. I like sketches, so I may go back to sketches next year.
Judy had another great question, “I notice the use of styrofoam plates to hold the specimens – do you find this easier/better than the ‘dissecting trays’?”
I do not like the Styrofoam plates we used for the frog. They were thin and slippery. I prefer the meat trays you get in the meat department at the grocery store. The only reason I like them better than the dissecting tray, is because of the cleaning. If we are running late, I have to clean the trays. Also I have to clean them in the bathroom sink at co-op, then clean the sink. It was too much trouble. Next year I will be ordering the disposable trays or buy them from meat department and use two at a time.
No one asked this questions, so I am going to ask it?
Applie, how do you dispose of the specimens when you are done? Aren’t they harmful to the environment? Wow! That is a great questions, Applie. The specimens are not classifiable as federal hazardous wastes and do not represent a biohazard. After they have been displayed to the co-op members about to have lunch, the specimens go right into the dumpster. 🙂
Hey Applie! One more question. Do you reuse your scalpels or replace them with a new blade after each specimen? Wow Applie, that’s another great question! So glad you asked that. Well, after breaking four “used” blades on the perch last year, I have decided we should use new blades for each specimen.
Gee Applie, isn’t that expensive? It only costs $2.00 for a package of ten. Get over being a tight-wad and get the blades. You and your students will be so happy!
Any more questions? I need something to post about so please ask questions. They don’t have to be about Biology or guts.