A breath-taking lesson

Did you look forward to biology dissections in school, or were you as far away from the sample as possible with a hand clasped to your mouth?  Recently the Avasara Leadership Fellows experienced dissection for the first time, when the 10th Standard studied breathing and respiration. We began with some explanations and theory, and then got hold of a pair of goat lungs to examine!

Some initial discomfort from Tamil, Yamuna and Sejal
Some initial discomfort from Tamil, Yamuna and Sejal

First, those girls who were willing to touch the lungs got the chance to hold them, feel their sponginess, and feel the cartilage in the trachea and the bronchi.  The lungs seemed very flat to begin with, and it was hard to imagine them in action.  The girls were then provided with straws that they could insert into the trachea to see if we could inflate the lungs.

Sofista observes Akshata inflating the lungs
Sofista observes Akshata inflating the lungs

After several attempts from very willing volunteers we realised that we could inflate the lungs to over double their original size!

Yamuna and Wagiyah look on as Arul manages to inflate the lungs even further--note the change in shape, and their paler colour
Yamuna and Wagiyah look on as Arul manages to inflate the lungs even further–note the change in shape, and their paler colour

Inflating the lungs was a lot of fun, but cutting them up gave us the chance to examine internal structures like bronchi and bronchioles.

Girls put pieces of lung into water to see if they would float.  Their ability to float on water shows just how much air they hold, even when uninflated.
Girls put pieces of lung into water to see if they would float. Their ability to float on water shows just how much air they hold, even when uninflated.
Ashwini managed to dissect a portion of bronchiole from her tissue sample.
Ashwini managed to dissect a portion of bronchiole from her tissue sample.

We’re already looking forward to our next dissection…

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