Pig Heart Dissection (Pre-Thanksgiving Rate Available)

by  Adventures In Medicine & Science (AIMS) Program of Saint Louis University

Program image

The primary focus of this program is on the anatomy and flow of blood through the heart. This AIMS program will allow students to observe the parts of the heart; increase students' understanding of the structures associated with the heart and the circulatory system; allow an opportunity for using comparative anatomy; assist the student in organizing the required material.

Program Rating

   based on 5 evaluation(s).

About This Program


By Request: $285.00
By Request Premium: $225.00

For programs scheduled to be completed before Thanksgiving Day, a reduced fee of $205.00 will apply.


1 hour for middle school to high school students. Can be adjusted to accommodate class schedules.

Target Audience

Education: Grade(s) 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, Teacher(s)/Educator(s)

Minimum participants:

No minimum

Maximum participants:

There is no maximum, but for optimum interactivity, we suggest no more than 30-40 students.

Primary Disciplines

Health/Physical Education, Sciences

Program Delivery Mode

Videoconference – Webcam/desktop (Zoom, Google Meet, Cisco WebEx, GoToMeeting, Microsoft Teams, etc...)

Booking Information

AIMS Distance Learning Programs are SOLD OUT for the 23-24 School Year. AIMS will begin scheduling programs for the 2024-25 school year on August 15, 2024.

Sorry, this program is not currently available. To inquire about future availability, please contact Adventures In Medicine & Science (AIMS) Program of Saint Louis University

Receive this program and 9 more for one low price when you purchase the CILC Virtual Expeditions package. Learn more

For more information contact CILC at (507) 388-3672

Provider's Cancellation Policy

Adventures In Medicine & Science will not charge for programs cancelled due to weather related problems, such as snow days.

The full fee for Adventures in Medicine & Science: Pig Heart Dissection will be charged to sites if they cancel with less than 1 week notice.

Adventures In Medicine & Science (AIMS) delivers interactive programs in health and anatomy education to students, utilizing human specimens to provide a unique look at the human body. AIMS is an outreach program of the Saint Louis University School of Medicine.

Ray Vollmer

Program Details


1. Provide each pair or group of students with a pig heart and a set of equipment for dissecting.

Observe: the pericardium which surrounds the heart. The fat deposits on the surface of the heart around the coronary vessels.

2. Using pictures or diagrams, the presenter will assist the students in orienting their hearts so that the apex is pointing away from them. Look for the coronary arteries, especially the anterior interventricular artery. The right atrium will be on the left and behind and the left atrium will be on the right and in front.

3. Locate the aorta and the pulmonary trunk.

4. Locate the superior and inferior vena cava to find the right atrium. Using a scalpel, the students will cut the area between the superior vena cava and the inferior vena cava to open the right atrium. The presenter will tell the students to cut carefully, but deeply as the heart will be very tough.

Observe: the thickness and texture of the walls of the right atrium; fossa ovalis;
coronary sinus; smooth area near the opening of the superior vena cava where the SA node is located.

5. Pass a pair of forceps from the pulmonary trunk into the right ventricle.

6. Spread the forceps and using a scissors, cut the pulmonary trunk between the prongs to open the right ventricle. Continue cutting to the ventricle, curving to the back of the heart toward the right atrium.

Observe: the thickness and texture of the walls of the right ventricle; tricuspid valve; chordae tendineae; papillary muscle; the cusps of the pulmonary semilunar valve that were cut to expose the right ventricle.

7. Next, open the left ventricle. Orient the heart again with the apex facing away. Starting at the apex, cut along the right side to the left atrium. Lift the auricle and cut through the atrioventricular groove. Cut carefully as much as is necessary to open the left ventricle.

Observe: the thickness and texture of the walls of the left ventricle; mitral valve; chordae tendineae; papillary muscle.

8. Using forceps or a finger, probe inside the aorta and explore the semilunar valve. Turn the heart so that the apex faces a light source and look for the cusps of the semilunar valve.

9. To open the left atrium, insert one blade of the scissors into the lowest pulmonary vein and cut forward to the auricle.

10. Make a longitudinal cut through the mitral valve and up through the aorta. Spread the walls of the aorta and locate the aortic valve.

Observe: aortic valve; opening of the coronary artery.

11. Investigate the coronary arteries by passing a probe into the opening of the right and left coronary artery. Dissect the coronary arteries as they leave the aorta and travel on the surface of the heart.

12. Hold the heart so that the right ventricle faces you. Cut completely across and through the heart about one-third of the length from the end of the apex to the top. In other words, cut off the bottom of the heart. This will expose the inside of the right and left ventricles.

Observe: the difference in the thickness of the walls of the right and left ventricles.


After this AIMS videoconference, students will be able to:

1. Identify the chambers, valves and major vessels of the heart.
2. Observe the various structures of the heart.
3. Complete a dissection of a pig heart.
4. Prepare for their graded assessment.

Standards Alignment

National Standards

National Science Education (NSES) Content Standards for grades 9-12
Content Standard:K-12 Unifying Concepts and Processes :Systems order and organization; Evidence, models and explanation; Form and function
Content Standard F, Science in Personal and Social Perspectives: Personal and community health
Content Standard C, Life Science: Matter, energy and organization of living systems
Content Standard A Science as Inquiry

National Science Education (NSES) Content Standards for grades 5-8
Content Standard A Science as Inquiry
Content Standard C, Life Science: Structure and function in living systems; Diversity and adaptations of organisms
Content Standard F, Science in Personal and Social Perspectives: Personal Health

State Standards


Show Me Standards
(Science and Health/Physical Education)
Science 3. Characteristics and interactions of living organisms
Health/Physical Education 1. Structures of, functions of and relationships among human body systems