Anatomy & Dissection Club Provides Opportunities for Exploration with Sheep Dissection

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  • For extra practice, Club President Einez Wu ’23 dissects a leftover sheep brain. For this dissection, the club took the approach of self-paced learning rather than direct teaching, allowing club officers to participate in the dissection as well.

  • Holding a sheep brain in a tray, Club Secretary Nicole Wang ’24 heads to a table to prepare for a dissection. Club officers were responsible for passing out supplies to members.

  • Club Treasurer Valentina Larina ’23 guides two club members through steps of the dissection. Although the members were responsible for going through the slideshow and following instructions themselves, club officers still provided support whenever there were questions.

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On Wednesday, Oct. 26, Anatomy & Dissection Club held a sheep brain dissection in Mr. Eric Scheiber’s room. The club meets monthly to dissect animal organs and learn how they function. This month’s dissection, a sheep brain, was chosen because of its similarity to human organs, and because the club had not directed them before.

“[The sheep brain] is not only a structure that mirrors our own brain, but it’s also pretty small, so it’s manageable,” Anatomy & Dissection Club Treasurer Valentina Larina ‘23 said.

As Anatomy & Dissection Club sponsor, Mr. Scheiber provides specimens for the club to study and dissect, buying the sheep brains from science supply company Carolina Biological. Mr. Scheiber has sponsored the club since 2019 in order to provide opportunities for students to learn about anatomy, especially students who don’t have exposure to dissections in class.

“I enjoy watching students learn,” Mr. Scheiber said. “Not all students can fit science classes with dissections into their schedules, [and] the club gives students exposure to dissecting both common and uncommon specimens. The officers do an excellent job and create the dissection slides and guide the group during the meetings. [The club] is very student-driven.”

This year, the club tried out a self-paced format for the first time, providing members with a slideshow of instructions and information, including diagrams of the brain’s anatomy. Although club members were given the freedom to handle the dissection themselves, officers walked around to answer questions and provide help when needed.

“I feel like we [officers] need to use a little bit less technical terminology [when] directing the dissection because people felt a little bit lost. So we’re going to take steps to improve upon that. Other than that, I feel like people enjoyed themselves and it went pretty good,” Larina said.

Most club members joined Anatomy and Dissection Club due to an interest in biology – as well as to get hands-on experience in observing and exploring animal organs.

“My favorite part about being in the club is to dissect, of course, and learn anatomy with others,” Club President Einez Wu ‘23 said. “Making the slides and doing research on the anatomy of the specimen we study is much more fun than reading a textbook.”

Last year, Anatomy & Dissection Club dissected a full squid and a pig heart. The club is looking forward to exploring new specimens in the future.

“We will start to venture beyond organs into small organisms, and for our final dissection at the end of the year we will be looking at an entire fetal pig,” Wu said. “We are very excited for future dissections because we have big plans.”

With multiple dissection possibilities to consider, Anatomy & Dissection Club will meet again in November.