Cats Teach Human Physiology

Senior+Patrick+Fritzky+and+junior+Emily+Orwig+work+on+their+cat+dissection+in+physiology+class

Senior Patrick Fritzky and junior Emily Orwig work on their cat dissection in physiology class

Jessi Gunn, Staff Writer

Roxanna Jackman’s physiology classes started cat dissections on February 6. Jackman uses this hands-on activity to teach her students about the muscular system of cats as well as the human muscular system.

Some students find this project disgusting, according to Jackman. “I have some students who are really dramatic and traumatized by it,” she said. However, she also said “Most people, after they start working on it, get really fascinated.”

Seniors Sarah Parsons, Bella Ruiz, and Sammy Chan are in a “cat group” together. They enjoy the project because it brings their knowledge to life.  Parsons said, “This project teaches us about the muscles that we’re learning about, and where they are.”

Ruiz added, “Normally we’re just looking at pictures, but then seeing it in 3D is cool.”

Chan agreed, “I like it more than lecture because it’s hands-on.”

According to Jackman, this year’s dissections continue the tradition started in 1988. Students study the cat’s muscles because they are similar to that of humans. The project culminates in a practical examination of the cats and a test on the muscles of the human body.

“Some students say that this project is really powerful learning,” Jackman said . “I’ve contemplated just buying chickens from the store and looking at their muscles, and not having to smell the preservative all period, but my students have said its really powerful to do the cats.”

“Well, I think that after you get past the initial grossness, it’s fun,” said Ruiz.