On the Cutting Edge of Science
Jon Smith

On the Cutting Edge of Science


Red and Blue staff writer

It may not be the most appetizing thing to do right before lunch, butstudents in Mr. Josh Winner’s freshmen Honors Biology class got up close and personal with squishy, spineless creatures that normally grovel underground.

Students were guided through proper dissection techniques and given a worm. The worms were carefully cut open and Mr. Winner went to each table pointing out anatomical features. Students had packets with the names of parts of the worm’s body and diagrams they compared to their own worm.

This lab was used as a way to physically demonstrate how different functions work within an organism. It provided a hands-on approach to Biology and gives students a chance to get up close and personal with a basic part of life.

Dissection has been part of the Biology curriculum for years and for good reason. While it's an unpleasant process to many students, it's also very educational. They are able to gain knowledge that they are unable to get from a textbook.

At the beginning some students were reluctant to do the lab, but most end up enjoying it more than they thought they would.

“At first I didn't want to dissect, but after I did it, it turned out to be fun” freshman Rylee Russo, explained.

Another student, Rhiannon Phillips, called it “by far, the coolest lab we have done so far this year. Biology is my favorite class.”

Mr. Winner likes to do activities that encourage students to think and dissection is an excellent example. Dissecting requires patience and always being conscious of what you're doing.

Students were given the option of whether they wanted to do the dissection.. Not all students are able to handle cutting open a specimen, so they paired up with another student who was willing. This way they were able to examine the worm and learn its bodily functions, but did not have to do something they were uncomfortable with.

Choosing not to dissect the worm did not impact their grades because a “lab practical” was completed a few days after the dissection to test what the students learned. It required more memorization than usual, but it was something many students excelled at.

Dissection provided the students a more interesting and in depth learning experience than lectures or worksheets ever could.