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The following information serves as a guide for teachers in preparing for a sheep brain or cow eye dissections. For more information or assistance, e-mail CBN educator Laura Carruth, PhD, at

Different schools have different policies on dissections, please check with your school science chairperson for school-specific guidelines. The Univertsity of Scrantion offers a nice sheep brain dissection guide. The Exploratorium in San Francisco has a great website for eye dissections with video, as well as a printable guide.

Specimens may be ordered from Carolina Biological Supply at 1-800-334-5551. Many different sheep brain preparations are available, although we recommend ordering specimens without the dura mater, the tough outer covering of the brain, for ease of dissection (catalog# CE-22-8700). Cow eyes come packaged singly (catalog# CE-22-8901), and in bulk (catalog# CE-22-8902).

Protective Gear & Other Materials
You will also need scalpels or razor blades, soft-tip probes, and dissection trays (alternately, one can use a disposable protective covering like surgical sheets or even heavy duty saran wrap). Protective gear like latex gloves, goggles, and face masks are necessary. Remember, you are dealing with biohazardous materials, one should not dispose of tissue and used gloves in an everyday trash can, nor should one clean dissection tools in the bathroom sink. Please check with your school's science chairperson for appropriate biohazard cleanup and disposal procedures.

Additional Resources

Cow Eye Dissection - a step-by-step instruction manual for dissecting the eye, accompanied by pictures and sound clips of explainers (The Exploratorium, San Francisco, CA).
Sheep Brain Dissection - University of Scranton's step-by-step dissection, with labeled images.


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