The Frog Dissection Kit

Author: Curriculum, published on 2014-03-03

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The MakerBot Frog Dissection Kit is the first 3D printable curriculum unit for teachers and their students to download and 3D print in the classroom. Now you can teach students about basic anatomy without having to deal with the yuck factor of dissecting a real frog!

This Frog Dissection Kit includes a lesson plan for teachers, digital files to 3D print a large, life-size frog body, and six 3D printed organs that fit together like puzzle pieces. Download the files, let us know how it prints, and stay tuned for more enriching educational experiences from MakerBot Academy.

Don’t forget to check out the Instructions tab for a sample lesson plan!


Frog Dissection Kit
How does the frog’s anatomy relate to its habitat?


Class periods

Students will understand the following:

  1. The importance of frogs in their local ecosystem.
  2. Why a frog is uniquely suited to its habitat.
  3. Concepts of adaptation and natural selection

Students will work in groups to research their frog, acquire background information, conduct student-driven dissections, record their observations, and think critically about the relationship between anatomy and habitat. Students will then communicate what they learned to their classmates with diagrams.

Students will research their frog and its habitat, dissect the frog, and consider how its anatomy adapted to its environment. They will consider how observations made provide evidence for evolution.


  1. One computer with connection to the Internet; one MakerBot Replicator 2 Desktop 3D Printer.

  2. Five Frog Dissection Kits (Frog_Body.stl, Organs_Combined.stl)

  3. Handouts (Frog_Dissection_Kit.pdf)

  4. Paper, pencils, poster boards, markers

Lesson Plan Procedure
This lesson is designed to complement units on human anatomy. A discussion can also be used as a review of human anatomy and to assess what students know about non-human animals.

Capturing their curiosity
Curiosity can be captured by introducing the MakerBot 3D printer, showing the 3D print files, and then having the students watch videos of virtual frog dissections online.

Student-driven inquiry
Student groups do a student-directed dissection of their 3D printed specimen.

Students can be assessed by the amount of data they collected about local frog species, the accuracy of their diagrams, and how well they explain their findings to their fellow students.

DAY 1: Introduction

  1. Introduce the concept of adaptation and explain how organisms that are best adapted to their environment will have more offspring and over time the population will have more individuals with those beneficial traits. Stress that these changes do not occur on an individual level, but within a population over time. Individuals do not develop changes because they need them, instead, over time, those individuals best suited to the environment have more offspring causing changes in the population. Ask students what they think will happen if the environment changes ”like another ice age or extreme warming event. Students should be able to predict that populations will have to adapt or go extinct.

  2. Introduce the 3D printed frogs.

  3. Divide the class into groups and provide each with a model.

  4. Within each group, each student picks an organ for which they will be the group expert. This does not mean that the student examines only that organ, just that they will be responsible for explaining that organ to their group and making sure their group members understand its function.

DAY 2: Students research the animals online

  1. Have students research frogs online to learn about their habitats and their anatomy. Make sure the students understand that this background knowledge will help them recognize what the structures look like in real life. Discuss with the students the importance of looking at the source of the materials to evaluate the trustworthiness of a site. Diagrams can be printed from these sites.

DAY 3: Dissection

  1. Students dissect their frog, identifying organs as they go. Each group should have access to the Frog_Dissection_Kit.pdf to help students identify the organs.

  2. As the groups are dissecting, the instructor can walk from group to group, asking what organs they have identified so far. By the end of the class, all students should be able to point out the six major organs.

DAY 4: Diagramming

  1. Students examine the specimens they dissected the previous day and diagram the structures in their dissected specimens. Each student is the expert on a particular organ and should verify that his/her group-mates have those structures correctly identified. This is a good time to walk around to different tables, observing the diagrams and making sure that the students have correctly identified organs.

  2. Each group prepares a poster identifying organ functions and the elements of the frog’s habitat.

*DAY 5: Presentations and discussion**

  1. Students present their group posters, sharing their findings with the rest of the class.

  2. Teacher leads discussion to encourage critical thinking.

*Sample discussion questions

  1. Explain the frog’s role in the food chain. What would happen to the food chain if frog populations were to decline?

  2. Discuss what makes a suitable habitat for a frog. Describe your location and explain why it’s a good or poor frog habitat.

  3. Currently, frog populations all over the world are in decline. Make hypotheses as to why frog populations are decreasing.

  4. A decline in the world’s frog populations is often described as an early warning sign for the environment. Debate whether or not this is an accurate statement.

License: Creative Commons – Attribution

Tags: Academy, anatomy, biology, Curriculum, frog