Design of the Experiment
Planaria flatworms can be found in fresh water ponds especially during spring. The teacher can get some flatworms in these ponds for the experiment. There are also shops that sell biological supplies including planarian flatworms. The teacher can buy some flatworms in these shops. The flatworms should be kept in glass containers with some water (preferably spring water) before the experiment. The flatworms need water to prevent dehydration.
Before the experiment, the teacher should explain clearly the objective(s) of the experiment to the students. The main objective of course is to demonstrate regeneration.
The major materials to be used in the experiment are petri dishes, scalpel, and spring water.
The class can be divided into groups where each group will set up their own experiment or there would only be one set up for the whole class depending on the number of flatworms or materials available.
The teacher may instruct the students to observe the anatomy of the flatworms and the movement of the flatworms. The teacher can also ask the students to draw and label the flatworms.
The teacher will demonstrate to the class on how to dissect the flatworms into multiple parts. The figure on the right shows the different ways on how to dissect the flatworms. The figure shows that the flatworm can be dissected into five different ways, so at least five petri dishes are needed for each set up. The scalpel is used to cut the flatworms. The teacher should guide the students on cutting the flatworms. The petri dishes should be filled with some water to prevent dehydration on the flatworms. The flatworm should be kept in the laboratory room where light intensity is minimal.
After the dissection, the students will observe the flatworms daily. They should note and record any changes on the flatworms. After few days, they would notice that the flatworms regenerate their lost body parts.
The experiment should be followed by a classroom discussion about the ability of the flatworms to regenerate their lost body parts. The teacher should discuss the relevance of the experiment including its possible applications in the field of medicine.