It’s not surprising to hear that Mr. Molina’s IB Biology class has been dissecting again, but this time, there was an unexpected twist: some underage visitors dissected alongside the seniors on Dec. 11. Granted, the seniors have done previous dissections in their periods, for example a heart dissection, but this dissection, of a sheep’s eye, gave students an in-depth view of eye structure.
“This lab is actually one of the first times I’ve worked hand-in-hand with a Gables student […] so getting to work with a senior on something so special and hands-on as this was certainly an experience. The seniors with whom I worked with were exceptional and taught me step by step what to do. If it wasn’t for them, dissecting an eye would have been much less fun,” CGPA 8th grader Alejandra Almada said.
Contrary to what some may think, this was not Coral Gables Preparatory Academy’s (CGPA) first time attending Mr. Molina’s class. The 8th graders have been going to Molina’s first period every chance they’ve gotten and been transported by bus to attend their actual classes at CGPA later in the day. This is because some of CGPA’s students are advanced in science and their middle school does not offer Biology. Unlike their usual visit to Gables, CGPA students were able to work with seniors to complete a dissection and experience high school biology at a new level. The dissection was not only beneficial to the visiting students, but helped the IB seniors complete their lab in a new way while sharing their knowledge with the 8th graders.
“It [working with the 8th graders] was nice because they learn from us and we learn from them, plus, we were working with a boy, so it was good to have him do the dirty work,” senior Claudia Villegas said.
This wasn’t the last of IB Biology’s dissections! Soon, the seniors will be dissecting a sheep’s brain, although it won’t be alongside the CGPA 8th graders. Mr. Molina plans to dissect a brain later in the year and continue to show his IB seniors hands-on examples of structures which will be featured on the IB Biology Standard Level (SL) exam.
“I think so far this has been a great experience for them [the CGPA 8th graders]. In just this short time I can see how they have gained in confidence. It also shows them a taste of our workload and grading style that can be very different. [In the future,] I plan to dissect with both classes,” Molina said.
The sheep’s eye dissection gave the CGPA 8th graders a new opportunity to experience academic challenges and work with high school seniors while the two groups of students learn simultaneously. Although the opportunities for these 8th graders to complete a lab like this again are minimal in the coming semester, there is no reason why education innovations like these shouldn’t be expected.