Comparative Anatomy (5 of 8): The Urogenital System

Lesson Title: Comparative Anatomy (5 of 8): The Urogenital System
Academic Standards: HS-LS1-1; HS-LS1-3
Content Creator: Mrs. Wendy Martin
Level: High School
Duration: 35-45 min
  /  Comparative Anatomy (5 of 8): The Urogenital System


  • Students will understand the function of the urinary system.
  • Students will understand the function of the reproductive system.
  • Students will learn the organs of each system in the human body.
  • Students will handle and manipulate human organs.
  • Students will understand the different osmoregulatory processes in 5 different specimens: the squid, starfish, dog shark, pig, and cat.
  • Students will handle the kidney of each specimen.
  • Students will learn the fertilization and gestation processes in the same five specimens.
  • Students will understand the difference in anatomy between an animal that delivers litters versus those that do not.
  • Students will compare and contrast the systems of each specimen by moving through larger than life models.


The urogenital system consists of the urinary and reproductive systems. They share common ducts so are often studied together. The urinary system is important in maintaining salt and water balance and ridding the body of nitrogen waste. The reproductive system is vital in the production of both sex hormones and gametes. Students will understand the anatomy of these systems in humans. In the animal kingdom there are a variety of osmoregulatory methods and fertilization and gestation methods. During the comparative anatomy portion of this class, students will compare and contrast these processes in five different specimens: the starfish, the squid, the dog shark, the pig, and the cat. Students will observe larger than life specimens and handle and manipulate the kidney and other discussed organs.


  1. Watch intro video on the urogenital system.
  2. Start PowerPoint presentation on urogenital organs and functions.
  3. Handle human organs as we discuss form and function.
  4. Place organs in the correct spot in a human body shell.
  5. Discuss the starfish dermal branchiae and its role in osmoregulation.
  6. Discuss the fertilization process of the starfish.
  7. View a time lapse video of a starfish developing.
  8. Observe and handle a starfish during the discussion.
  9. Discuss the squid kidney and its role in osmoregulation.
  10. Discuss the fertilization process of the squid; discuss the nidemental glands in females.
  11. View a video of a squid hatching.
  12. Observe and handle a squid during the discussion.
  13. Discuss the dog shark kidney and rectal gland and their roles in osmoregulation.
  14. Discuss the fertilization process of the dog shark and differences in male vs female structures (ie: claspers).
  15. Explain the difference between oviparous, viviparous, and ovoviviparous in sharks and view a video on it.
  16. Observe and handle a dog shark during the discussion.
  17. Discuss the mammal (pig and cat) kidney and its role in osmoregulation.
  18. Discuss the fertilization and gestation process of mammals.
  19. Explain the uterine horn and litters.
  20. Observe and handle both specimens during the discussion.
  21. End with question and answers.

Suggested Ancillary Support

Shark Reproduction : Squid Eggs Hatching : Mammal Embryo Development: Salamander mitosis: Urine Formation: Starfish Development: