Mikro asked me to order him some invertebrate dissection kits. He had done a squid dissection in science class, and wanted to do some more. So I ordered him a couple of kits from Carolina Biological Supply, which makes a line of young scientist's dissection kits. You get a teacher's guide, student instruction booklet, specimen and dissecting tools, for about $8.
I am very ambivalent about dissection, generally. (That probably goes along with being a vegetarian and a pacifist...) I see the value of it in learning anatomy and physiology, but I hate that something has to die to make it possible. Given that the request to do this came directly from Mikro, I went with it. I am not sure I would have if I had a different, less science obsessed kid. He still mentions veterinary medicine as a possible career, so I justify this to myself in that, if his interest is encouraged and he pursues it, he will surely help more critters than he takes apart... We both found the dissection fascinating but guilt inducing. It probably made it harder that he named his specimen...
Anyway, we started off with observing the gross external anatomy, drawing a diagram, and taking measurements. That's Mikro's drawing with my labeling below. I was really impressed with how seriously he took making the sketch.
Then we got into the actual dissection. The exoskeleton was very hard to cut through, so I wound up assisting. We saw the heart, gills (weird and feathery looking), esophagus and digestive tract.