For the past few years I have been doing cow eye dissections on Halloween. As you know, Halloween is already a day full of hype, so why not go all the way? My fifth grade team started doing the cow eye dissections a few years ago. Most of the students love it! There are a few who choose to go to another class during the event, but very few. I personally would join them, but I am the teacher, so I have to stay.
I actually have a thing about eyes. I don’t know if it stemmed from childhood or what? I just know I can’t watch people touch their eyes, put in contacts, or discuss laser eye surgery. In fact, before my first Halloween with the cow eyes, I watched a video on YouTube showing a cow eye dissection. I had to watch it three times before I wasn’t totally grossed out.
Well, years later, I can stand to be in the room and take pictures. I beg my parents at Back-to-School Night to volunteer on Halloween so I don’t have to help cut the eye open with a scalpel. The funny thing is the students love it!
A few days before Halloween, we do a directed drawing of the eye and label it. Then I laminate it before the big event that way students are able to use that as a guide as they dissect.
The students work in partners, so we need one cow eye for every two students. When students are dissecting, we have gloves, plates, scissors, and tweezers for the students to use. I print off two pages that have boxes with labels for each part of the eye. This is where the students put the parts as they dissect.
The lesson takes about an hour. Our team bought enough scalpels, tweezers, and scissors for a class of 36 students. We rotate the materials throughout the day. The only thing we keep having to buy every year is the cow eyes and gloves for all the students.
This year my team has decided to change it up – we are going to be doing owl pellets on Halloween. I can’t say that I am sad, but I am glad to do something I will be willing to be fully involved in. Either way, I love to make this holiday a fun and engaging event for my students. I want it to be something that they remember and learn from.
Have a great week and I will see you next week with what’s going on in room B5.