We're currently working on our body systems unit which is one of my favorite ones to teach. It's also kind of scary when you start finding out how little 7th graders know about their own bodies and how they work, but that's another post for another time.
In any case, a few years ago, someone in The Building got the bright idea of ordering some preserved pig lungs to illustrate the dangers of smoking. However, for various reasons, they had never been used and were stored away in the science lab. It's actually a real cool set-up - a rack made of tubes, with valves, and a place to attach the lungs (both at the same time even) so you can then attach the bellows and pump them to make the lungs inflate and deflate. And these damaged lungs look incredibly disgusting, with a tumor or two on them, and they really don't pump well. The healthy lungs are really nice and healthy and slightly bloody looking and they just pump up like a dream.
If you're a science geek like me, the set-up is really cool. For some folks, however, it's a bloody mess.
So, Mrs. Angora remembered we had these so we decided to rotate them around and use them in a mini-review of the respiratory system. Nothing like a little blood and gore to capture a seventh-graders attention.
First off, I had the rack in my room a day before I needed to use it, so I covered it with a sheet and put my "Do Not Touch" sign on it (fat lot of good that does), which prompted a lot of questions. "What is that?" they'd ask and I'd say something vague like a demo we're going to do tomorrow, or something like that. I may have even said "body parts" a few times, just to get them guessing and curious.
The next day, when I snapped on my rubber gloves and opened the plastic cases and hung the lungs up on the rack, was, well, priceless. You can only imagine the comments.
"That's so disgusting!"
"Is it real?"
"What do they feel like?"
And so on...one girl in my 5th period got a little green and asked to go get a drink of water, which may give you some idea of the reaction. When I started pumping the lungs up, the comments and noise level got even higher.
What's even funnier is that we were a bit vague on exactly what type of lungs they were. Mrs. Angora had told her kids that they were real lungs so of course, that's what my kids thought. They kept asking if they were real (they were) but not what species. I didn't bother to tell them they weren't human, but were pig instead. Neither did Mrs. Eagle who's kids had the same reaction. As Mrs. Angora said, "It probably didn't hurt them to think we go around gathering body parts in our spare time. Keeps them on their toes."
I wonder if they think we're gathering up more body parts over Spring Break?