A-level set practicals – dissection and scientific drawing


The ability to accurately observe, dissect and record an organism is a key skill for biology students. Many students are intimidated by the idea of making a scientific drawing, and struggle to develop their skills in this area.

‘Dissection and scientific drawing’ is designed to meet the specifications for the A-level practical endorsement in England (CPAC). However, it will make a valuable guide to dissection and scientific drawing of a flower for those following a variety of different specifications.

These teaching notes, the student sheets and the accompanying Powerpoint include full guidance on how to carry out a dissection and a scientific drawing.

You can also watch the demonstration video below.

We recommend Alstroemeria, a flower regularly available in supermarkets, for dissection, and these teaching notes focus on this plant.

We have an alternative version in which students follow in the footsteps of Darwin, making careful observations and dissections of primulas. Primulas are available in garden centres through much of the late autumn, winter and spring months, and flower in the garden in spring. If they are available, you may wish to use this version of the practical instead.

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