Micah H - Ain't no thing but a chicken wing (Physiology)

Principles investigated:  Muscular, skeletal and integumentary systems.


CA Science Content Standards covered:


9. As a result of the coordinated structures and functions of organ systems, the internal environment of the human body remains relatively stable (homeostatic) despite changes in the outside environment. As a basis for understanding this concept:

b. Students know how the nervous system mediates communication between different parts of the body and the body’s interactions with the environment.

h. Students know the cellular and molecular basis of muscle contraction, including the roles of actin, myosin, Ca+2, and ATP.



Prior Knowledge: (Covered in lecture prior to the lab.  See attached powerpoint)

-          An organ system is a group of organs interacting together in order to perform a set of functions

-          The skeletal system provides support for the body, serves as attachment points for muscles, produces red and white blood cells.

-          Joints are where two bones meet

-          Muscles support and move the trunk, limbs, and face, handle body functions that are not controlled consciously, and pump materials through the body.

-          There are 3 types of muscle tissue within the human body: skeletal, smooth, and cardiac.

-          Muscles are composed of muscle fibers, connective and nervous tissues.




-          Chicken wing

-          Scissors

-          Tweezers

-          Probe

-          Dissecting tray (Be Green!) or Paper plate

-          Gloves

-          Pen or Pencil

-          Paper Towels



Students will identify the different anatomical structures of a chicken wing by dissecting and observing a raw chicken’s wing. 

Students will compare and contrast the skeletal, muscular, and integument systems of a chicken with that of a human by applying their observations of a chicken wing to the knowledge of human body systems.

Students will simulate limb movement by activating flexor and extensor muscles of the chicken wing


Procedure:  ***Review safety points before beginning***

Use protective gloves.  Always cut away from yourself.  Wash all materials thoroughly when finished


            1.)  Go over the objective, materials and procedure with the students.

            2.)  Starting at the top of the upper limb, insert your scissors under the skin and make Cut #1.  (Figure 1)

            3.)  Make Cut #2.  (Figure 2)

            4.)  Peel back the skin to expose the muscles and bones. 

5.)  Using steps 4, 5, 6 and 7, make observations, complete and color the necessary drawings.

Lab Analysis:  Complete the analysis questions provided along with the lab.



Questions and Observations for discussion:

1.)  Before you make your incisions, examine the skin.  Describe its texture.  List the major functions of skin.


      Answer:  The skin is the first line of defense against pathogens.  It aid in body temperature regulation.  (Sweating for humans and feather erection in chickens)


2.) Find the yellowish clumps under the skin.  What do you think this tissue is?     

            What is its function?

Answer:  Fat or adipose tissue. It is used for insulation and energy reserves.


            3.)  Compare and contrast a human arm with the chicken wing.

Answer:  All of the same bones are present, but are modified for different functions.


            4.)  What happens inside a muscle fiber that causes the muscle to contract?

Answer:  Nerve endings control sarcomeres which are shortened or lengthened by the interactions between actin and myosin.


            5.)  Why are blood vessels necessary within muscles?

Answer:  Muscles require energy and nutrients to operate efficiently.  Arteries supply oxygen and nutrients to muscle cells.  Veins remove metabolic waste products.


            6.)  What happens when you move each muscle in the wing?

Answer:  Each muscle group works in opposition in order to move the wing.  For example, when the triceps is pulled, it increases the angle of the elbow joint, extending the wing.  When the bicep is pulled, it decreases the angle at the joint, bending the wing back in.  (This can be demonstrated using your own arm)

Norman Herr,
Apr 13, 2011, 11:49 PM
Norman Herr,
Apr 13, 2011, 11:50 PM
Norman Herr,
Apr 14, 2011, 11:43 AM