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Apr 17 2020


Dennis Wang

Beijing City International School (BCIS) teachers practice learning through experience, connecting concepts to reality by providing opportunities for students to learn by doing. Garrett Horner, BCIS MYP Science teacher, made sure his Grade 8 Science class could experience one of the major experiments students look forward to – dissection!

As you can expect, students had been anticipating the dissection class all year, so Mr Horner got hold of a dissection subject and informed the class that the dissection would be going ahead via livestream. "They've been talking about it since last semester. We wanted them to have as live an experience as possible," said Mr Horner.

Lungs were chosen as the dissection subject because they are the first body system studied in MYP Science. Seeing what they are made of and their constituent parts reinforces student understanding of their many functions and importance in the body.

With dissection, it's not just the "seeing" that students take away. The feel, smell, and skills involved are all a major part of a live dissection. Whilst some students had obtained lungs to perform their own simultaneous dissection with their parents, Mr Horner said student observers were constantly asking questions and making comments, such as: "The size of the lungs was much larger than expected", "it was interesting to see that the left lung is smaller", "I thought it was neat to see the trachea branch into each lung and then follow that branching through a lung", and "I was so grossed out by how the trachea bends!".

This engaging substitute approach for an in-class dissection allowed students to see the size and different components of the lungs and ask direct questions that they may not have been able to ask without this opportunity. The dissection class is further supplemented with online tools such as Froguts, which allows students to perform a variety of their own dissections online. To build on this experience, Mr Horner will lead students in making their own set of 'functioning' lungs and diaphragm out of plastic bottles and balloons.