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Middle school students learn about the human body via video conference
Seventh-grader Cade Minton takes notes Tuesday while watching a live video feed from the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta of an actual lung during a class at C.W. Davis Middle School. - photo by Tom Reed

In a flip of duties, a group of college students became the teachers in a classroom at C.W. Davis Middle School in Flowery Branch on Tuesday.

The students were from the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta and were teaching a long-distance anatomy lesson to the Davis students via video conferencing equipment.

“This is fantastic. It was very in tune with what our students have learned in life sciences,” said Heather Galligan, a Davis Middle seventh-grade teacher who helped organize the lesson. “We wouldn’t have been able to show them specimen examples, so this was a great enrichment opportunity.”

In addition to a presentation about the functions of the brain, heart, lungs and spinal cord, the college students used organs from donated cadavers to drive their points home.

“Your heart is a machine that never stops,” one of the medical students said while pointing out parts of the heart. “It beats 100,000 times a day and never quits.”

The lesson also emphasized why learning life sciences is important, and that it could lead to a career in the medical field.

“We wanted help them get the bigger picture and to tie in what they’ve learned in class with the things that we talk about in medical school,” said Anna Edmunson, an assistant professor at the medical college.

The college students also shared interesting facts about the human body. For instance, the “lub dub” sound associated with the heartbeat is created by the opening and closing of the semilunar, tricuspid and bicuspid valves.

The seventh-graders also got the opportunity to ask questions to find out how pollution affects lungs, why people with heart conditions shouldn’t ride roller coasters and what happens during an asthma attack.

Although there were hundreds of miles separating the students from their college instructors, they couldn’t have been any closer to the action, even if they were on the college’s campus.

“If the school was to call and say they want to take a field trip through the laboratory, the answer would be ‘no’ because we can’t allow students that young in there because of the cadavers,” said David Adams, the college’s coordinator of anatomical services. “So this was a really advanced learning opportunity for them.”

Medical college administrators said they hope the lesson sparks a long-term flame of interest in the sciences.

“Nowadays, the U.S. has fallen so far behind (other countries), especially as far as the sciences are concerned,” Adams said. “We thought (this video conference) could be a good way to reclaim some of what we’ve lost and inspire more students to join the field.”

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