Students cannot wait to dissect cow eyes at Hawfields Middle School in Alamance County

What's Right with Our Schools
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ALAMANCE COUNTY, N.C. — The word dissect might make some people cringe but not the 6th graders at Hawfields Middle School in Alamance County.

They say all year long they look forward to the day they get to dissect cow eyes.

Why? Well according to Jackson Fulcher, “It was just something you don’t do every day so it was really interesting and it was cool.”

It is hands-on learning at its best. Students get to see how their eyes work because, according to their teacher, a cow’s eye is similar to a human eye.

But first, Sadie Phalen says the kids have to get over what they “think” the process will be like.

“They’re thinking  the classic horror movies with blood and gore, gross and nasty. And you have to take that away from it to show the scientific side of it,” said Phalen. “Once you are able to show them the scientific side of it, its much more calm. They understand OK, we are doing this for scientific purposes.”

Being able to dissect the eyes is actually a reward for the students.

They take a test to make sure they know all the parts before they can actually do the lab. Phalen says there’s more than one reason for that.

“My first and foremost concern is safety,” she said. “If I am telling you to cut through the sclera and you’re cutting through the optic nerve or something, that creates a dangerous situation for the person you are working with, so at the beginning of the year the kids know that they need to get 100 on the eye diagram test.”

This is one lesson that may make them “look” at science differently in the future.

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