HEART WEEK! Aaaaaaaaaand...wait for it...somehow I didn’t end up unconscious on the floor or with my face in the sink! Yay me!
We started off the week preparing for our actual dissection days by watching a really cool, but also really gross, video on heart transplant. I think I was more disgusted watching that than by actually cutting the deer heart open myself. The guy narrating was rather weird, and very aggressive when it came to mimicking heart surgery. I hope no surgeon ever performs heart surgery on me as aggressively as he did on that poor pig heart; it was disturbing.
Tuesday was the first heart day, and we all gathered around to watch Mrs. Cole identify the parts of the heart and do a bit of dissection. And then it was our turn. We worked to identify the different parts of the heart, like the apex, the pulmonary artery, and the aorta, and then began the dissection. With the heart cut open, we were able to see the left and right ventricles and atria and the valves that separate them, as well as the heart strings. We measured the sides of the ventricles, and found that the left ventricle wall was 1.5 times as great as that of the right ventricle! That makes sense though, with it having to send blood to the entire body (6.6). But still, wow!
This week we also reviewed Vodcasts 5.1 and 5.2, which dealt with gene regulation and development (5.1-5.2). While much of this material makes sense, it was a lot of new ideas all at once, and when we discoed, we were discoing 4.12 as well as these two, so we didn’t get to spend a lot of time on any one thing. I am feeling rather overwhelmed and have a TON of questions (what's new haha). I’ve already gone over everything once over break, and am still feeling this way, so I really need to work on that. The concepts I need to work on are understanding how positioning happens (hox genes versus the simple order of genes: do both of these affect position?), neurulation and organogenesis, how positioning works in plants, and secondary growth. While I largely understand the rest of the concepts, I need to work on the specifics; I do not know them well enough to be tested on them or be able to apply them to anything. I will work on that and will have a list of questions to ask Mrs. Cole when we get back (be ready haha).
The work we did this week connects to the overall course because the heart is the kind of like the powerhouse of the body and the process of circulation requires key concepts we learned earlier in the year like bulk flow, diffusion, and gradients. The pumping the heart does is how we move molecules that we learned about in unit 2 around our body in order to supply our bodies with the energy that we learned about in unit 3. Our four chamber heart is the result of evolution, as discussed in unit 1, and is coded for by our DNA, which we learned about in unit 4. Gene regulation and development also deal with all of the units, because our DNA plays a crucial role in both, and both code for molecules discussed in unit 2 that provide the energy we learned about in unit 3.