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The First Cut

“Can you see his heart,” teacher Bill Berendsen asked his seventh grade class as they dissected a frog during science class on Feb. 16 at St. Cyprian’s Episcopal School.


“It looks like sausage or a hot dog,” one student said. While another exclaimed, “I’m by his heart.”

Seventh grader David Wright was surprised the frog’s heart was so small.

“My heart is the size of my fist. This isn’t even the size of its fist in general,” he said pointing to the frog’s heart. “It’s just so small. It’s surprising.”

Dissecting frogs was a first for the SCES students as they learned about the anatomy of frogs this school year. To prepare for the assignment, the students watched a video about cutting into the animal. Seventh grader Roree Lyons was nervous about the assignment, but overcame her fears as she made her first incision. She said it was interesting to learn about “where all the systems are” in the frog.

Up the hallway earlier that day, ninth grade students dissected a fetal pig.


“This part of biology is on organ systems,” Berendsen said. “A pig has organs close to a human, so it’s really seeing how long the small intestine is, how big is a liver, what does it look like, and what does it feel like. So, I want them to get a realistic concept of what organs actually are like.”

Ninth grader Oscar Cruz said he was both excited and not excited for the day’s work.


“I was excited, because I was getting to see what was inside the pig and figure out what’s going on and what’s inside the animal,” he said. “And no, because I’ve never done this before. It’s the first time for me. I’ve mentally been trying to prepare myself.”

Ninth grader Faye McLeroy said she was excited about dissecting the pig, because it was interesting to learn about the animal’s anatomy.


“You see in movies how it looks,” she said. “In person, it’s definitely different. It will stay in your mind forever, cutting it out and stuff.”

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