This week we finally got to dissect the organs, which many of the students had been looking forward to. We started with the kidney, as it was the simplest of the organs. We discussed how the kidney helps to clean things out of the blood, and how people who don’t have kidneys that work well use a dialysis machine to help clean their blood. Next we moved onto the brain, where we talked about the functions of the cerebrum, cerebellum, and medulla oblongata. We noted the optic nerve and the olfactory bulbs at the front of the brain. We also talked about the hypothalmus glands and its role in functions like sleep, temperature, and emotional connections. After the brain, we looked at the heart and talked about the four chambers, the path the blood takes, and the valves. But mostly we noted how difficult it is to cut through the muscle of the heart, as the heart is always pumping. Finally, we explored the eyeball. We had to cut through a lot of muscle and nerve to get to the eye, but once we cleared that away it was time to open the eye. We had a bit of a burst of aqueous humor as we cut through the sclera. Once we opened the eye though, we were able to find the lens and discuss how it helped to focus what we see. We also noted how colorful the inside of the eye is, comparing it to the inside of a shell. These specimens also came from Home Science Tools and were accompanied with dissection guides.
After finishing the dissection, we had some fun with art. We brought in over 100 balloons, most of them long enough to make balloon animals. The students all blew up balloons, and experimented with tying them together in unique ways. We talked about the glass artist Chihuly. We also spread out paper over the floor and had some fun with splatter art, talking about Jackson Pollock.