Last week Ross School students became the first group of high schoolers allowed to visit the Alumni Gross Anatomy Laboratory at New York Medical College, one of the nation’s oldest and largest health sciences colleges. The lab, which serves hundreds of medical students annually, provided Ross ninth graders with an object lesson in human anatomy.
Ninth grade team co-leader Kerrie Tinsley-Stribling spent months trying to secure permission for the group to make the visit, which was granted after the college reviewed Ross’s curriculum. In grade 9, students spend a significant amount of time studying and emulating Leonardo da Vinci’s explorations of anatomy through dissections. The class’s field trip coincided with the culmination of the students’ integrated project, during which students bring together what they’ve learned in Visual Arts and Science classes to produce sketchbooks of anatomical dissections in the artistic style of Leonardo.
“Looking at the human body gave us a better understanding of the body, our organs, and their functions than we ever would have gotten using PowerPoint,” said student Ally Friedman.
The day began with a presentation by Laboratory Manager Roger Bender, who offered students an overview of the facility, its procedures, and the specimen donation process. Afterward, he guided students through explorations of the dissected specimens and allowed them time to sketch what they observed.
“Everything that we saw during the trip—the brain, nervous system, spinal cord—were all things that we had studied in class, so the students went in with greater appreciation for what they were learning,” said ninth grade science teacher Hameer Deo. “Unless some of them decide to pursue a career in biology, these students may never have the chance to observe the human body again in this way.”
“This was a powerful experience for everyone,” said Kerrie. “I hope that it is just the first trip of what will be a tradition for our ninth grade students.”