Anatomy Course Embraces Hands-on Learning

By Haseeb Khan ’19 and Emma Harutyunyan ’19

Get your gloves on and your scalpel ready because you’re going to need them when dissecting a frog. Midwood anatomy students are now in the process of dissecting frogs to get a better understanding of their bodily systems.

“It’s a good thing that we are able to have the opportunity to compare frog anatomy to that of human anatomy,” said Ms. Margaret DeSimone, an anatomy teacher.

Dissection is the process of cutting open a body to study its internal parts. This process helps students visualize the placement of organs in a vertebrate. Since frogs and humans are both vertebrates, they have similar body plans. By cutting open a frog, students can get a closer look the placement of their own organs and at the functions of their organs.

For her classes, Ms. DeSimone orders her frogs at the Carolina Biological Supply Company and gets one frog per group of four students, with each frog costing $5.

“Next to humans, animals are the next best thing to learning about the structures of bodies,” Jafrin Uddin ’19 said.

Being able to have this hands-on experience on actually dissecting a frog helps students learn more because seeing something real and being able to touch it is much different than seeing it in a book or smartboard,” said Ms. DeSimone.

Zahrea Reece ’19 said, “I definitely wouldn’t understand anatomy as deeply as I do now and I think it’s because of all the hands-on action that we get in class.”

Dissecting animals such as frogs accommodates the needs of all students and their learning preference, including auditory, visual, or physical learners.

However, some students believe that other resources can be used to replace dissection and can be just as effective. Cong Wing ’19 said, “I think we can learn the same amount of information through lectures and the multiple virtual resources that are provided.”

There are also some students who feel uncomfortable with dissecting a frog.

Ricky Hill ’19 said, “The animals we usually dissect are usually slimy, ugly, and the
smell is really distracting and sometimes gets in the way of me fully comprehending what’s going on.”

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