Dissection Gives Inside View of Tissue, Muscles

By Zita (Lok Yiu) Chau ’16 and Kelly Yuen ’16

Get ready to skin a chicken wing. Anatomy classes are holding dissection labs for the better understanding of the connective tissues and the muscles of a human body.

Dissection is a process in which one cuts open a body part or an organ to study its’ internal structure and functions. This process gives students a real life image of what the human body looks like. It is also the first step in becoming a doctor.

“I think dissection is rather interesting because you realize how alike a humans body is to other species,” said Leann Whyte ’16.

Dissection is not just about ripping things apart, it’s about teasing layers away to get a better look inside and how things function, said Mrs. Margaret DeSimone, one of the anatomy teachers.

“This activity helped me understand more about the topic. Learning something new just by notes isn’t as effective as hands on activity.” Doma Gurung ’16 said.

Last term, the lessons consist of the human body. To have a visual image of the body parts, students dissected the heart, the eye, and the internal organs of a frog. This term, anatomy classes will have dissection labs on a chicken’s wing, a sheep or bull’s testicle, and a pregnant rat.

In anatomy, specimens chosen for dissection is based off the lesson the class is currently covering. A cow’s eye is dissected for a lesson in sight and vision while a pregnant rat may be dissected to display reproduction.

Celia Chen ’16 said, “When I had anatomy last term, I felt that it is a privilege because it’s a hands on experience that not many people get.”

One of the second terms lessons is about the tissues and muscles of the human body.The most recent lab dissection was on a chicken’s wing to get a better understanding of the different types of muscles.

“I found dissecting the chicken wing was a lot of fun because of it’s soft texture,” said Wendy He ’16. “I now understand the different types of muscles there are in a single body part.”

The chicken wing’s muscle closely resembles that of a human’s, so students saw how each muscle looked like. The entire lab, including the setup and cleanup, took around half an hour. For the dissection, students only used their hands. They took apart the wing bit by bit to slowly examine each layer and made observations.

Whyte said, “It helps me understand more of the topic because it’s far more visual , so I can thoroughly understand how the body works.”

Though dissection labs are a way students get to learn more about the human body, some students object to participate in this procedure.

“It was a bit disgusting, but I think it was more interesting than disgusting. Looking inside what you dissected, gives you a better idea of how things work in your body,” said Hannah Chen ’16.

However even though some students are terrified of dissecting, they believe that the dissection labs helped them achieve a better understanding of the human body and how the muscles work.

Gurung said, “While others might have found it disgusting, I thought it was very interesting because it gave me a better understanding of muscles and how they work.”

There are a total of eight anatomy classes this school year. Last year there were six classes in total and Mrs. DeSimone was the only teacher. This year Mrs. DeSimone teaches five of the classes while Mr. Canepa teaches three.

Even though dissection is thought of as a gruesome process, students benefit from it. It teaches them patience, precision and accuracy. It can also make learning experiences better. Students working in a groups can share each other’s observations. Also they get to see the object in real life, rather than in a textbook.

“I  think that doing dissections will help me be better prepared if it does come up in the future,” said H. Chen, “and I’ll have more knowledge of how the internal function works.”

Anatomy classes study bodily functions through dissection of a chicken wing and foot.
Anatomy classes study bodily functions through dissection of a chicken wing and foot.

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