Psychology students dissect sheep brains for biology unit


Gyan Bhambhani

Arya Yalamanchi (’24) carefully makes his first incision into the brain.

Andrew Xiao and Gyan Bhambhani

Last block day, the AP psychology classes conducted a dissection activity as part of the biology unit, where students handled and cut into a sheep’s brain. 

“I thought it was pretty interesting to see the actual brain structure and not just from a diagram. It helped understand where things are,” said Samuel Wang (‘23).

Students were broken into groups and each handed a dehydrated sheep brain and a scalpel. Before making any cuts, the students were first tasked with identifying the outer regions of the brain through visual inspection, then coming up with a scenario that matched the function of the respective region.

“Dissecting an actual brain was very useful for visualizing where each part was located. We were able to appreciate what we were learning more by getting this hands-on experience” said Pranav Subbaraman (‘23)

Each region of the brain was identified and then photographed, which helped students learn how to visually recognize parts of the brain.

“It was really cool. I enjoyed cutting the corpus callosum to see the smaller, more intricate parts of the brain,” said Michael Hu (‘23).

Groups were then instructed to carefully make incisions to examine cross sections and the inner regions. The first cuts between the two hemispheres allowed students to document central workings of the brain. Horizontal cuts provided a cross section for students to differentiate between white and gray matter.

“I hope to do these types of hands-on experiments later this year,” said Hu.

The dissection experiment took the diagrams and pictures to the next level. Being able to interact with different parts of the brain helped students understand the functions and relate them to the human body.