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Dog {fish} Days: Homeschool Dissection

Judah and Tilly are loving their Marine Biology class this year…especially dissecting a dog fish.


Judah, age 12

Homeschool Marine Biology

Judah and Tilly’s Marine Biology class involves several hands on project weeks. In discussing what they could do, they decided to dissect….a shark. This was all fine and good. I ordered the shark. Had it shipped to our church (because the company wouldn’t ship it to a residential address) and purchased the necessary supplies (gloves, scalpels). The problem is the time between deciding on the project and beginning it…I became pregnant.

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Dissection and Morning Sickness Do Not Mix

I do not have a week stomach. I dissected my share of animals during school. But when I am pregnant…well, things are different.  Having my living room filled with the odor of formaldehyde and watching my children slice into the shark flesh…well, it’s not working out so well. 

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Identifying the Anatomy of a Dog Fish

I sat all the way across the room and read the directions to Judah and Tilly….and we’re not finished. This project is going to  take a while.

I was very impressed at their knowledge though. Judah was able to identify the shark as male within about two minutes of unwrapping it. He could see the difference in the fins.

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Did you know the spiny dogfish shark does not reach reproductive maturity until 11 years (for the male) and 19 for the female? 

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Wish me luck, and we continue to work on this project together!



  1. TonyM

    I don’t think I know of anyone else that buys sharks, scalpels & latex gloves for their kids. I wouldn’t even know where to buy a shark!

  2. Erin

    So fun!! Let me know if you have any questions– I am actually just finishing a semester as a lab TA for a comparative anatomy class that dissected dogfish sharks (among other animals). I would love to help if you have any questions! Make sure you keep the shark very well lubricated/immersed in whatever kind of holding fluid you have because if not it will get really, really fishy really soon.

  3. Heather

    This is an awesome project!! I took anatomy and physiology during my first pregnancy. Luckily the cat dissection wasn’t until week 23–my smell/gag reflex was more under control.

  4. Kara W

    Home science tools is a great place to buy things to dissect, they ship to residential addresses too. I’ve just been too nervous to let my kids use scalpels.

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