The Phoenix Fire

February – Piekarz Classroom Article

Nathan Yuan, News Reporter

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There is hardly a science activity more iconic than dissections. In the months of February and March, the Science classroom, headed by Mrs. Piekarz, has had dissection tools and specimens out. The dissection activities are part of the biology unit that studies evolution, genetics, and more.

In total, there were three dissection activities in total. First, the 8th grade Phoenixes took a quiz regarding the internal anatomy of Annelids. They then proceeded to dissect a worm, a member of this phylum. Most students were surprised by the intricate design of the internal organs as well as complexity of what seems on the outside as a simple organism.

Mrs. Piekarz has been through the dissection many times and her favorite dissection by far is the earthworm due to its surprising amount of complexity and its tendency to make students realize the sheer details in the anatomy of all organisms.

The second dissection was less of a dissection and more of an observation. Students studied the external structures of Arthropods and were once again given a pre-lab quiz about the anatomy of crayfish and grasshoppers (members of this phylum). They were also tasked with learning the differences between the male and female sexes of a crayfish to identify the gender of their specimens.

The third dissection was of a frog. Mrs. Piekarz was pleasantly surprised to see that the company which supplies the frogs had accidently given much-larger bullfrogs instead of the smaller species that she had ordered. As of the writing of the article, the frog dissection has not been fully completed by some students, but it is met with relatively positive responses.

Mrs. Piekarz believes that with the dissection unit, students can grasp the magnitude of complexity of how organisms function and to allow her students to realize how diet, exercise, and substances are so capable of disrupting the complex cycle in students bodies.

For those who feel uncomfortable with dissecting animals, were given the choice to sit out on these activities and follow a guided, virtual dissection.

In a poll of eighth grade Phoenixes, 86% of students answered positively to the dissection unit. As one student, Max Yang puts it, the dissection was “exciting and eye-opening. ”

Overall, the dissection activities were very beneficial in the student understanding of evolution. Many students learned for the first time the complexity of internal anatomies in different organisms and understood how many organisms have similar organs due to evolution.

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February – Piekarz Classroom Article