On the Spot: Anatomy and Physiology students dissect sheep brains, cow eyes to physically explore their functions (with video)


Aubrey Phillips

Coppell High School seniors Jenna Brown, Colin Smith, and junior James Lewis examine a cow’s eye during an anatomy with teacher Michelle McDowell during her seventh period class on Friday. McDowell is guiding learners in the dissection of a cow eyeball and sheep brain to teach about the nervous system through this lab.

Sarah Woo, Staff Writer

On Friday, in Michelle McDowell’s Anatomy and Physiology classes, students participated in a lab where they identify and label different portions of a sheep brain and a cow eye.

Students dissected animal organs to bolster memorization and identification of portions that are similar to human organs. As they probed each layer of the respective organs, students were able to see unique physical aspects that are hard to see anywhere else.

“I’ve learned that cows have this iridescent layer [in their eyes] and that actually helps them see in the dark,” Coppell High School senior Jenna Brown said. “I also learned that the hard marble structure we found was the lens of the eye, which I didn’t know until now.”

This lab not only provided an interesting learning environment for the students, but also became an unforgettable experience for those understanding the basics of medical anatomy. From the key parts of the brain to essential functions of the eye, many scientific treasures were discovered today.

“The best part of this lab is definitely the hands-on experience,” McDowell said. “A lot of the time you’re studying anatomy and physiology and it’s hard to get an idea of what you’re body is made of until you actually get to the organs and physically see them.”

With this lab experience, students can use their discoveries of the sheep brain and cow eye to effectively connect it to how sensory organs work as a whole. Students will further explore brain anatomy in the next few classes to fully understand every function of each structure.

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