By Lilybeth Hernandez
Starting out the new month, after weeks of studying on human and animal bones, the Physiology classes at Independence High School have begun one of the most anticipating units of the semester: dissecting minks.
Dissection of a mink occurs in the Physiology classes every year, in the purpose of providing concrete, hands-on learning experiences with anatomy. In dissecting an animal, students see, touch, and explore the various organs in the body. Seeing these organs, and and understanding how they work within just this small mink, allows students to understand how these systems work within many other animals, including themselves.
“While there are many aspects that may differ between humans and many other animals,our organ systems work in similar ways," Physiology teacher Mr. Elwell says.
One reason minks are often chosen to be dissected is that their bodies provide a good overview of the complex organ systems of a living thing and are the perfect size to be able to use in a classroom laboratory. It is thought that if students see and feel these organ systems for themselves, they will take more out of the lesson than if the teacher just lectured or assigned readings about it.
“Physically touching and dissecting the mink could help you understand it’s system and body more than any paper with a picture on it could,” junior Alondra Lopez says.
The students learn how to dissect the mink using specific tools, that are often similar to instrumental tools used in surgery. Students also prepare for the dissection by studying the muscular system for about a month prior to the dissections. They also get a study guide which includes safety rules on how to dissect that needs to be completed before they begin.
As you can imagine, there are some difficulties when dissecting. Weak stomachs, safety, smells, not knowing where to cut or what to do can all pose problems that student encounter while dissecting.
“Finish and study all the work he gives you before you dissect and don’t think about the smell too much because it might make you sick to your stomach”, senior Jessica Nguyen says, “Other than that you should be fine and get some hands-on experience”.
By Levi Livengood
Student-run Junior Achievement companies are starting back up again at Independence. Two economics classes, taught by Ms. Zausch in C-312, have created two companies, Cloud Circuit in first period, Sip2Sip in second. They sell phone charger bracelets wrapped in multiple different colors of paracord, and metal straws designed to eliminate plastic waste respectively.
Both have launched their IPOs (Initial Public Offering) and gathered enough funds to begin production. On March 14, both Cloud Circuit and Sip2Sip sold their first products.
“Junior Achievement is a one-hundred-year-old organization whose mission is to promote economic success for students in grades K-12. Among the many programs Junior Achievement offers, the company project is designed to expose students to become an entrepreneur,” says Ms. Zausch, quoting the Junior Achievement North California website.
Ms. Zausch, who was a student in Junior Achievement herself, has taught it for the past fourteen years. “As far as I know, no one else in this district. There are several in East Bay, San Francisco, and there is Branham High School in San Jose,” she says.
Senior Oliver Nguyen, who is also the President of Cloud Circuit, says, “Our product is the Clouger. It is a paracord charging cable bracelet. It’s available for both IOS devices and it works for devices that use Micro USB.”
“The expectation is that students develop and apply the professional skills needed in the 21st-century workforce. They learn skills like teamwork despite their personal differences, finance management, networking with local businesses and community organizations, entrepreneur and innovation planning, and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics),” says Ms. Zausch.