• June 3, 2020

Ector students get hands-on biology lesson - Odessa American: ECISD

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Ector students get hands-on biology lesson

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    Science teacher Deja McKnight helps 14-year-old Lakshmi Rojas get her piglet tied down. The Gifted and Talented students at Ector College Prep Success Academy are disecting pigs after school over the next few weeks.

Posted: Thursday, January 23, 2020 3:19 pm

Gifted and talented students at Ector College Prep Success Academy recently dissected fetal pigs, an experience that high school and college students would usually get.

Assistant Principal Reagan Paquette said students on a recent Thursday were seventh and eighth graders.

Spanish and gifted and talented teacher Jackie Martinez said students don’t get a lot of exposure to science in seventh grade. In eighth grade, they have to worry more about the STAAR test so they don’t spend a lot of time with dissection.

“We thought it would be a good involvement for the GT kids to get that experience,” Martinez said.

Twice a week, Paquette said the GT students are split into two different groups. The first group included sixth graders with some seventh graders and the second group was eighth graders with the other part of seventh grade.

“The sixth-graders did the owl pellets and seventh graders are getting to do the pig. … They do different lessons throughout the year,” Paquette said.

The lesson was a special privilege for the GT students because Ector is more literacy focused, she added.

Martinez said it’s something the students will always remember. Students got a diagram so they could see where the pig’s organs were located.

Déjà McKnight teaches college and career readiness and girls’ athletics, but is certified in science. She said the students were going to come back the following Thursday and study the pigs a little bit more because they were probably going to run out of time.

 “I think it’s really awesome because whenever I was here as a student, I got to do this dissection, but we didn’t get to do it until biology which was ninth grade year so most of them will get to see this in biology. But they’re probably not going to do a dissection, because at the high school level, the classes are a lot more full and so they may not have time to do dissections,” McKnight said.

McKnight added that she has some students who want to go into the medical field.

“I was telling them that this is baby steps, but it’s the first step you’re going to take,” she said.

Emperatris Maynez, a 13-year-old eighth grader, said she thought the dissection was “really awesome.” She said her father was a butcher for 20 years, so she was sort of used to it.

“I’ve never done this,” Maynez said. “This is my first time. It’s not as bad as I thought it was going to be.”

Twelve-year-old seventh grader Diego Levario said the lesson was fun.

“… It is kind of gross, but you kind of get used to it and it doesn’t also smell that bad. It’s not so bad,” Levario said.

He added that he could see what was inside the pig instead of just what was on the outside.

Jo Almager, who teaches eighth grade science and college career readiness, said she thought the lesson would teach the students compassion because the pigs were living creatures.

She added that it would also help the students learn what’s inside of them, literally, because the pigs’ organs are similar to humans.

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