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Activity

Muscle structure magnified

Summary: 
Look at chicken or beef under a microscope to see the muscle fibres.
Science content (2016 curriculum): 
Biology: Sensing, Organ Systems (4, 5, 6)
Science topic (2005 curriculum connection): 
Life Science: Animal Growth and Changes (grade 2)
Life Science: Human Body (grade 5)
Materials: 
  • tiny piece of fresh chicken or beef
  • razor blade
  • two dissecting needles, or pins
  • two glass slides
  • microscope, or at least 10X magnifier
Procedure: 

Slice a tiny piece of meat from the chunk and lay it on a slide.
Use the needles/pins to tease apart the meat until thin strands become separated.
Lay the second slide on top, and squash it down to flatten the meat.
Look at the meat under the magnifier/microscope (10X, then higher magnification if you have it). Find areas where the meat is in a very thin layer, often around the edges of the sample.
Look for the long strands lined up next to each other in the meat - these are the muscle fibres. The muscle fibres are made up of many protein molecules lined up side by side, which slide past each other to shorten the muscle fibre. A muscle contracts when many fibres lying side by side shorten at the same time.

Teaching site: 
At home (only noted before doing in a classroom)