Energy, Matter, and Organization: Dissection Lab

Today marked the first day of dissections (thanks to our DonorsChoose grant award!), with students working in teams of three to dissect a cow eye and a pig heart.  Student feedback was overwhelmingly positive.  Students who were apprehensive at first quickly engaged with the hands-on lab.  Many were surprised at how different the organs were compared with the stylized pictures they had seen in textbooks.  I was very impressed with how respectfully students treated the organs.  The dissections were performed with care and clear attention to detail.  Many students were able to trace the flow of blood through the heart.  Students who dissected the eye noted the beautiful blue coloration of the cow eye retina, and may students were surprised by the onion-like structure and marble-like consistency of the lens.  The hardness of opacity of the lens are due to the dissection materials being stored in a chemical fixative.  Exploratorium has a guide available for the dissection of fresh cow eyes for students feeling inspired to connect with their local butcher.

IMG_0471

Update: 1/27/16

Students dissected frogs and sheep brains today:

For the final 20 minutes of class, we reviewed critical course content in preparation for the Unit 2 Exam scheduled for tomorrow.  White board notes are shown below:

Molecular Structure and Properties: Phase, Size, Polarity, and Smell

Chapter 8 concluded with the Lesson 46 PowerPoint and Lesson 46 Worksheet.  Lesson 46 brought together the various concepts needed to understand how molecules with certain properties can be detected by our noses, with our brain recognizing those molecules as having a specific smell.  The ChemCatalyst asks students to model why perfume molecules can be smelled from across a room, but paper cannot (both placed near a sunny window).  We sketched out a drawing of the scenario and modeled the response on the white board (pictured below):

IMG_0426