During this term, 8th grade students learned about the kingdom Animalia species, their characteristics, evolution and behavior, and they are now learning about human body systems. As a way to integrate both topics, promote learning through meaningful experiences, and encourage the development of self-regulation and independence, students were exposed to a dissection laboratory, where they had to dissect a vertebrate and an invertebrate organism, and identify it’s external and internal features. Students worked in teams, and distributed their tasks like real surgeons performing an autopsy.
The dissected organisms were squids and frogs. Squids belong to the class Cephalopoda (Greek for “head with feet”), in the phylum Mollusca (Latin for “soft body”); among invertebrates, squids and octopi display some of the most developed nervous systems. Frogs on the other hand, belong to the class Amphibia (Greek for “both kinds of life”, a reference to the fact that they inhabit both aquatic and terrestrial environments), within the phylum Chordata (Latin for “string”: animals with a rod in their backs).
We believe that with careful scientific exploration of animals treated in humane ways, students can become more aware of the importance of each organ system, the adaptations of living things to their environments and the similarities between animal species, including humans.