Squid Dissection: A Third Year Lesson


One of the most anticipated rites of a Montessori Third Year student is the opportunity for squid dissection. Equal parts fascinated and squeamish, the children explored all the anatomy and beauty of this fantastic creature with the help of their Guides Megan and Anna. See many wonderful photos by the talented Melinda Smith below.  


In deciding to study the anatomy of a creature, many choose the squid, due to its plethora of soft tissue and easily-identifiable organs. The children are encouraged to touch and explore the squid before dissection; science should be a multi-sensory experience!


Dissection also lends itself to the careful introduction of sharp and specific instruments. Because these children have been working with “real” equipment – kitchen knives, scissors, and the like – for years by the time they are about to begin a dissection, they are prepared to use these instruments responsibly.


Children carefully cut open the mantle to reveal the visceral mass of the squid.


Once again, the outdoor work space comes in handy; dissecting a squid is both messy and smelly business!



Finding the squid’s pen, or gladii, was quite exciting. The pen is a feather-shaped internal structure (and the vestigial internal shell of the squid) that supports the squid’s internal muscular tissues and organs.


Learning all about the squid’s beak (which is sharp and shaped much like a bird of prey’s beak!), eyes (which lend the squid its fantastic eyesight), and of course, the ink sac, these children certainly took a lot away from the experience.


The eye!


Thank you to the Guides, who got down and dirty (as usual) and showed the children how to be curious, open, and always ready to learn something new. And thank you to LE Aide Melinda for sharing these wonderful photos!

We can’t believe it’s already the last week of school! There is so much to reflect upon, be grateful for, and look forward to.