4th grade is generally state history. In Alaska, we study the life cycle of salmon because it is very important to our state livelihood. We are able to invite the Alaska Fish and Game to come and lead a salmon dissection for our grade level.
We rotate each class through one room, so we only stink up one. A lot of the kids start out kind of timid but eventually most of them at least touch the fish once. They review the external anatomy. Our students aren't allowed any sharp tools, everything is done with their hands. The Fish and Game specialist cuts open the fish and then the students get to determine if they have a male or female. They also learn the internal organs of the salmon. It is a great activity that the kids talk about for a long time!
We also raise little salmon fry from eggs to be released at the end of the year. We've had bad luck the last couple of years, but its looking good for this year! I will post about that activity at the end of May!
Do you do any dissections in your classroom or grade level?