Some real world experiences were brought to life recently with a special viewing of preserved bodies for Oakdale High School students enrolled in anatomy and physiology classes and health career classes.
OHS science teacher Belinda Webb and ROP health occupations teacher Em Rippe took approximately 50 juniors and seniors to the world-renowned Bodies Revealed exhibit in Sacramento on May 6.
“This is a very powerful exhibit,” said Webb, who visited the exhibit with students two years ago. “Some people are just not equipped to see nine rooms of dissected human bodies. However for those who are in, or are going into the medical field, this is such an awesome learning experience.”
The Bodies Revealed exhibit features real, whole and partial body specimens that have been meticulously dissected and preserved through a process called Polymer Preservation, giving visitors the opportunity to view the complexity of the body’s bones, muscles, nerves, blood vessels, organs, and systems.
Polymer Preservation is a revolutionary technique in which human tissue is permanently preserved using a liquid silicone rubber. The end result is a rubberized specimen, preserved to the cellular level. The process prevents the natural process of decay and it makes specimens available for an indefinite period of time to study.
“I found myself so enthralled by one dissection that I found myself kneeling down on the floor observing and tracing the pathway of the sciatic nerve to the junction in the calf muscle, (the) gastrocnemius, before realizing that there were several pairs of feet standing around me at the same dissection,” Webb reported of her previous visit. “I stood up and apologized for being on the floor, they just smiled. The room where the circulatory system is set up is amazing. The same process used to preserve the entire body is used only on the circulatory system. Every vessel is exposed and all other tissues are removed, outlining the entire body and organs.”
Rippe believes that a visit to Bodies Revealed helps prepare students for entry-level work in health occupations. She said that opportunities to see or participate in real world experiences is a plus that will help them feel comfortable and operate safely in a hospital or medical office environment.
The traveling exhibit that has been viewed by people around the world, featured more than 200 specimens never before seen in California. It also included 14 whole-body specimens that were posed in a combination of athletic and artistic movement such as a baseball catcher and pitcher, a violinist and a bicyclist.
The students were able to observe first hand the damage caused to organs by overeating, lack of exercise, and disease through the authentic specimens, as well as healthy specimens, offering an alternative to the textbook. Additionally, the exhibit featured video and interactive features for the students to explore.
Rippe said that three areas surfaced from her students this year as the most interesting aspects of the exhibit — the fetal display; the circulatory system; and the body sections on three planes, similar to what would be seen on an MRI.
“I saw great enthusiasm for the experience,” she said, adding that she’s hoping to hear and see the benefits of the visit as the year progresses.
She also asked her students if they thought the field trip should happen every year if it were available to them within reasonable distance for a day trip. She said the answer was a definite yes.
“I also asked if they would be willing to pay $35 to $40 to go if there were no funds to cover part of the trip as there were this year,” Rippe reported. “There was a little hesitation on that one, due to the economy I’m sure, but again the answer was that it would be worth it.”
The Bodies Revealed exhibit is located in Sacramento, 2040 Alta Arden, at Arden Way, across from Arden Faire Mall. It is open for a limited engagement. Ticket prices start at $14. Exhibition Hours are Sunday – Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Friday – Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. The last admission is one hour prior to closing.
For more information call 1-888-263-4379 or go to www.bodiessacramento.com.