TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KLIX) – Twelve students, each wearing blue plastic gloves, sat at tables with their peers, a pig fetus in front of each group.

This was the last session of “Dabble in Dissection,” an anatomy and physiology class for home-schooled students and hosted by the University of Idaho Extension Office.

Thirteen students signed up for the six-week course, which taught them about different animals and anatomies. The fetal pig was the last dissection assignment and, according to students, the closest example they’ve had in class to the human anatomy.

Because they’re mammals, “they’re the closest to us,” said 14-year-old Alex Yavruian. “The digestive system,” for instance, “it was interesting.”

Other critters the students dissected included earthworms, starfish, crayfish, frogs, grasshoppers, rainbow trout and clams.

This is the first time the extension office hosted a dissection class, but the teacher deemed it a success and says another one will be held later this month.

“It expands their knowledge of anatomy and physiology,” said Tasha Azbill, a UI intern who instructed the class.

She said students usually don’t tackle the subject until they’re in high school, but this gives younger students a good foundation, especially if they’re interested in pursuing a subject in anatomy or physiology.

The six-week course was for home-schooled students in elementary to high school, she said, but the upcoming three-day class, scheduled for March 28-30, is for all students.

Vivian Dugan, 14, said she’s learned a lot from the class about the different animals, not only their anatomy but their habitats and characteristics. She enjoyed the science aspect of the class best, however, and learning such things as dorsal and vertical cuts.

Each student was required to keep a journal of the specimens and what they’ve learned from them, their similarities and differences.

The class is beneficial in another way, said Suzann Dolcheck, extension educator: It helps UI students who are pursuing teaching degrees.

Azbill, who headed the class as an intern, took charge not only in class but prepping for it by ordering the specimens online and locally. The class later this month also will be headed by a student.

Dolcheck gave a nod to local support, saying the class, as well as other programs through the Extension Office, would not be possible without the help of Twin Falls County commissioners and other community partners.

“We can’t do these programs by ourselves,” she said.


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