A Model Parasite

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In this detailed activity (on pages 9-18), learners investigate the body parts of a parasitic ascaris worm by making and dissecting clay models. Each learner creates a model of either a male or female worm, then they swap models, predict the sex of their new worm, and dissect it to check their prediction. Labels are provided for marking the parts of the dissected models. The activity introduces learners to the structure and function of digestive and reproductive organs of organisms that can live in the human body and cause disease.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Learning Time:
1 to 2 hours

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per student

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Model

English, Spanish

Materials List (per student)

  • a handful of clay (nonhardening modeling clay or Play-Dough)
  • dissecting needle or plastic knife
  • scissors
  • string in one color and thread in another
  • tape
  • toothpicks
  • cardboard or stiff paper sheet, at least 9 x 12 inches
  • plastic bag to store clay
  • centimeter ruler


  • Life Sciences
    • Diversity of Life
      • Animals
    • Human Body
      • Digestion
      • Health and Nutrition

Informal Categories

  • Animals


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities

Designed specifically for

  • Rural dweller

Culture, ethnicity, and gender

  • Girls

    • Explicity developed for this group


Foreign language versions of this resource:

Components that are part of this resource:

Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


Source Collection

  • Science After School Consumer's Guide


  • All rights reserved, University of Nebraska State Museum, 2001

Funding Sources:

  • NSF Informal Science Education Program, 9909496
  • Howard Hughes Medical Institute