A cross section was used to enhance three-dimensional knowledge of anatomy of the canine head. All veterinary students in two successive classes (n = 124) dissected the head; experimental groups also identified structures on a cross section of the head. A test assessing spatial knowledge of the head generated 10 dependent variables from two administrations. The test had content validity and statistically significant interrater and test–retest reliability. A live-dog examination generated one additional dependent variable. Analysis of covariance controlling for performance on course examinations and quizzes revealed no treatment effect. Including spatial skill as a third covariate revealed a statistically significant effect of spatial skill on three dependent variables. Men initially had greater spatial skill than women, but spatial skills were equal after 8 months. A qualitative analysis showed the positive impact of this experience on participants. Suggestions for improvement and future research are discussed. © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 39: 10–34, 2002