Lesson Plan Industry Sector
Agriculture & Natural Resources

Lesson Plan Originally Created By: Angela Mayfield

The Muscular System and Chicken Wing Lab -- Angela Mayfield

Part of Unit: Physiology

Lesson Plan Overview / Details

In this lab students get hands-on experience exploring the muscular system. Students identify the three types of muscle tissue (cardiac, smooth, skeletal) and discover how muscles and bones interact. In addition, students dissect chicken wings to practice manipulating dissecting equipment, while becoming familiar with organs and tissues found throughout the body of animals.

Lesson Time

Wall-Sit Challenge
5 Minutes
Types of Muscle Tissue
20 Minutes
How Muscles and Bones Interact
15 Minutes
Chicken Wing Lab
45 Minutes
Ticket Out the Door
5 Minutes

Objectives and Goals

  • Students will be able to identify the three types of muscle tissues.
  • Students will be able to describe how muscles and bones interact.
  • Students will be able to identify significant organs and tissues found thoughout the animal body.

Activities in this Lesson

  • Wall-Sit Challenge Hooks / Set

    Bring students together and quickly engage them in the lesson with this kinesthetic activity. After students have placed their belongings at their desk, direct students to find a clear wall space around the room on which they can lean. Guide students in a wall-sit competition, where students keep their backs pressed against the wall with their legs supporting them at a ninety degree angle. As students break their pose by standing, sitting on the floor, or bracing with their arms they return to their seats. The last student(s) remaining in the wall-sit position win(s)!

    As students return to their seats, process the experience. What happened? (We had to hold a pose for a long time!) Why was it hard? (Our muscles got tired and started to burn.) What was necessary to complete the challenge? (muscles, bones, determination, strength, etc.) This challenge incorporates many important components, and we are going to take an in-depth look at one of them today as we get hands-on experience with muscles and muscle structures.

  • Materials Needed: Textbooks (1 per student), student notebooks

    In this activity students will become familiar with one type of muscle tissue (skeletal, smooth, cardiac) prior to meeting as a trio in which they will teach one another in a collaborative group.

    Divide the class into three groups (A, B, C). Students in Group A are to use their text or additional resources to individually become familiar with skeletal muscles, Group B are to research smooth muscles, and Group C are to explore cardiac muscles. Each student is to individually investigate their type of muscle tissue and write a concise summary in their notes.

    After initial exploration has been completed, students form trios made up of one student from the A group, one B, and one C. In this trio, each student will have researched a separate muscle type. Students share the information they collected as they capture notes on the muscle types they did not research. At the conclusion of this activity, students should have a brief summary for each of the muscle types.

    Ag Connection: For each muscle type researched, have students identify a species of livestock or agriculturally related animal who must have strong cardiac, skeletal, or smooth muscle tissue to be competitive. For example, a race horse must have strong cardiac muscle tissue to be competitive on the race track.

    Monitor student progress and clarify questions.

  • Materials Needed: PowerPoint

    Preview this mini-lecture by giving students key terms and asking them to make the connection of how each term helps muscles and bones interact. (Nerves, Tendons, Blood Vessels, Opposing Muscles)

    After students have shared their prediction regarding the connection among terms, fill in any missing information with a mini-lecture. Students are to capture important notes.

    Nerves transmit information from the brain, telling muscles when to contract, extend, or relax. Nerves are sent from our brain and also allow our brain to respond to senses which we may touch, taste, smell, hear, or see. Have you ever quickly tensed your muscles because you were scared or surprised by something? This is an example of your nerves at work!

    Tendons are a form of tough connective tissue which joins skeletal muscle to bone. They are attached in a precise way, which allows them to pull on bones like levers. The muscles provide the force to move the bone, but the tendon does the pulling! Flex your arm and you will see your tendons pulling your forearm up, while your muscles provide the needed supporting strength.

    Blood vessels keep muscles oxygenated and remove waste. As blood circulates through the body, oxygen that we breathe in is carried to muscles and organs throughout the body. As the blood returns, it carries with it waste such as lactic acid. Did you feel the burn in your legs after the wall-sit competition? That is a result of blood circulation slowing and being unable to keep up with lactic acid removal.

    Opposing muscles work like a choreographed partnership to move your limbs back and forth. As one muscle contracts (tightens), the opposing muscle releases (stretches). Take a look at your arm again. Flex your arm and watch as your biceps tighten and your triceps simultaneously release.

    Resources and Materials

    • How Muscles and Bones Interact [ Download ]
  • Chicken Wing Lab Lab / Shop

    Materials Needed: Lab Handout (1 per student), refer to lab handout for specific lab supplies needed

    The purpose of this exercise is to practice manipulating dissecting equipment and become familiar with organs and tissues found throughout the body of animals. Prior to class, organize necessary materials for the attached Chicken Wing Lab. The following materials are needed for each student: one raw chicken wing, scissors, paper plate, tweezers or forceps. Consider providing cleaning supplies as well (disinfectant wipes, spray, paper towels) if your classroom is not equipped with a sink. You may elect to have students work individually or in collaborative working groups of 2-4.

    Empower your students! In order to delegate responsibility and empower students to take a leadership role, select students to fill the following positions: Materials Manager (in charge of materials) Chief Scientist (keeps students on track with lab procedures), Sanitation Engineer (ensures all materials are properly cleaned), Recorder/Reporter (captures notes and shares updates). You may choose to have one student fill each role for the class as a whole, or give each student a role if working in collaborative groups.

    Ag Connection: Have students identify one job or career for which knowledge of muscles is essential. (i.e. meat scientist, butcher, veterinarian, animal sports therapist, etc.)

    Resources and Materials

  • Materials Needed: Small square of paper (1 per student)

    After the lab has been completed and the room sufficiently cleaned, check for student understanding with a ticket out the door. Provide each student with a small square of paper on which they are to respond to three guiding questions. What are the three types of muscle tissue? What are two ways in which muscles and bones interact? What is one thing you learned from the Chicken Wing Lab? Students respond to questions and hand their responses to you as they exit. In this fashion, all students must respond in order to have a ticket out the door!


Assessment Types:
Lab Report

Assess student progress and performance by collecting labs. Labs can be evaluated for thorough completion as well as accuracy. In addition, you may wish to collect and review tickets out the door to assess retention. Tickets can be used as a review technique at the start of the following class period. 

This lesson provides a comprehensive, big-picture view of the muscular system. You may choose to follow this lesson with an in-depth look at muscle contraction and control of muscle contraction.