Eyes light up in fervor as Mr. Eterno instructs students to put on their goggles and safety gear. Students are performing dissections on perch fish in an effort to become more familiar with the anatomy of living things in a hands-on, visual manner.
As fifth and sixth graders button up their lab coats and put on their surgical gloves, Mr. Eterno sets the scene for what will be the first dissection most students will witness on their educational journey. Once everything is in place and all of the “student scientists” are prepared, everyone gathers around the table to begin.
At first sight, students appear either fascinated or squeamish. However, as the dissection progresses, more students wish to participate and help in removing organs or feeling the diverse textures within the fish. “Whoa! It’s the heart!” is something I hear from across the room, as a student witnesses the removal of the critical organ from the cavity of the fish.
Even the students that appeared woozy at the beginning of the dissection suddenly inch their way toward the table to get a look.
Mr. Eterno offers a detailed, instructional presentation in which he explains the dissection, step by step, and shows students the organs one by one.
Students will perform individualized dissections of perch fish beginning next week, following the directions and process that Mr. Eterno showcased in class.
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