For the past four years, I have been teaching science at Renaissance High School. Renaissance — an Examination School, like Cass Tech, on the old Catholic Central site on Outer Drive — attracts motivated students from across the city.
This year, I have five classes of juniors and seniors, many of whom were my students when they were in ninth grade. (I even worked with a few when as a volunteer at Bagley Elementary.) Last year, we were 100% remote. Students have been stressed out by the transition back — the demands of in-person learning while still complying with the school district’s mask mandate — but definitely appreciate the social experience of learning together. I know I do.
Why sheep, then? Every year in Anatomy & Physiology, my students patiently await Dissection Day. We prepare by taking notes and going over the structure and function of the twelve organ systems we learn in class. When Dissection Day comes, they are finally able to apply what they learn in class to the real world.
Many of my students have a strong desire to go into the medical field and crave the hands-on experience of dissection. While I would like to provide multiple opportunities for dissection each year, its expensive to secure specimens for 90 students. I'm reaching out for donations to source the specimens so that my students get the educational experiences that they deserve.
We are finishing up the nervous system now and hoping to dissect sheep brains –around $23 each times 30 lab tables. Through the preparation and hands-on work, students will identify areas and structures that, while smaller, can teach us a lot about the human brain.
From sheep, we'll graduate later this year to a perennial favorite – fetal pigs.
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