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Best of the Week 2018-2019: Teaching to the Future


This week in Anatomy & Physiology, Health and Wellness teacher Mr. Mark Jayne '00 surprised his senior and junior students with a lab entitled, Pickle Autopsy. Students walked into class to see a grizzly crime scene, blocked off with caution tape, of "murdered" pickles. After initially observing the crime scene from afar, students then took turns in a role-playing experience, playing the role of the county coroner and medical examiners who performed autopsies on the pickles to determine their causes of death. "I'm in a group with anatomy teachers from other schools and we all collaborate with each other to come up with new ideas for labs. Many of them have shared their students' experiences with the Pickle Autopsy lab and all of them have loved it, so I wanted our students to try it out too," says Mr. Jayne.

By utilizing their anatomical terminology and knowledge, students searched each pickle for abnormalities and foreign objects within the body and head following the autopsy incisions. The pickles were further inspected to determine if their hearts were fully healthy or diseased and if they suffered from bullet or sword wounds and tumors. Students also checked each pickles' pH level to determine if they were poisoned and searched for any obvious signs of potential drowning as well. "I bought green heart beads to represent healthy hearts, purple heart beads for diseased hearts, black round beads for bullets and white beads for tumors and students had to find these within the pickles to determine how they could have died. I also soaked some of the pickles in baking soda overnight to alter their pH levels too," says Mr. Jayne. "The students really got into the role-playing aspect of the lab as well and they even provided a proper burial for them after the autopsies were completed."

The lesson overall reinforced the fundamental concepts of anatomical directions, planes, positions and body cavities and helped students better understand where organs are located. Not only did this exercise provide students with a fun and interactive way to put their anatomical terminology into action, but it also taught them how quickly you need to problem-solve in certain situations and find the root of the problem. This lab was designed as an interactive precursor before students begin their introduction to dissection.

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