Gripping pig hearts as large as their heads, nearly 30 students from third to eighth grade in groups of four excitedly snipped and peeled back a flap of the heart to expose an inner chamber of muscle fibers and tissue – one of many educational hands-on activities provided through Edgewood Academy’s Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) program.
“The pig heart dissection made me more interested in science,” sixth-grader Eli Hernandez said. “I had fun sticking my finger through the artery into the heart. I also learned that other mammals have similar parts as us.”
Maria Torres, a science instructor from the Discovery Science Center in Orange, described the parts and functions of a mammal’s heart and cautioned the students on how to properly dissect the pig heart. She then showed the students how to use metal scissors to cut through the arteries, atrium and ventricles to have an inside look at a pig’s heart.
GATE-coordinator and fifth-grade teacher Julie Chen collaborated with the Discovery Science Center to bring the science project and materials to Edgewood.
“Students already have an idea on what they want to be. By engaging in hands-on activities and projects, they are able to figure out more of their interests,” Chen said. “This will allow them to form a more solid path toward their desired college major and careers.”
Nearly 70 Edgewood students from third to eighth grade are selected as GATE students based on teacher recommendations and performances on state and GATE testing. Once they are identified as GATE students, they can choose additional courses held once a week after school in art, drama, coding and robotics.
Chen is looking to expand the program for the next school year to include more hands-on projects.
“Our GATE programs offer valuable opportunities for our high-achieving students to strengthen [core concepts they learn in the classrooms,” Superintendent Dr. Alex Rojas said. “They are able to apply their knowledge to hands-on activities, further expanding their skill sets and experiences.”
BASSETT_HEART1: (From left to right) Edgewood Academy third-graders Isabella Hernandez and Xochitl Hinojoas and fourth-grader Daniel Hernandez take a peek inside the atrium of a pig’s heart during a Gifted and Talented Education program after-school activity. Nearly 30 students from third to eighth grade participated in the pig heart dissection to learn more about the anatomy of a mammal heart.
BASSETT_HEART2: (From left to right) Edgewood Academy eighth-graders Diana Rodriguez, Michelle Torrico, Paulle Do and Alexis Muro work together to cut open a pig’s heart during a Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) program after-school activity. GATE students can choose additional courses held once a week after school in art, drama, coding and robotics.