The MGCI Cancer Society hosted its first dissection on 26 March, during the literacy exam day. The event focused on the dissection of the brain and eyes of pigs. A mandatory pre-dissection meeting was held at lunch two days in advance. During this meeting, Henry He, the primary organizer of the event and president of the MGCI Cancer Society, discussed lab procedures, logistics, and gave an overview about the anatomy of the mammalian eye.

14 students in Grades 9, 11, and 12 participated in the dissection. Participants were placed in three groups of four, and one group of two. To guide the dissection, Henry projected his progress onto the whiteboard while explaining the functions and parts of each organ.

The first specimen that was studied were the eyes of a pig. The eyes were still attached to the optic nerve and the brain, and students were required to separate the organs.

MGCI had also provided microscopes so students could study the tissue in detail.

A student studies the ____ under the microscope. Photo: Jackie Ho

A student studies animal tissue under a microscope. Photo: Jackie Ho

After the eye dissection, students analyzed the brains. Smaller than a humans and containing a more vertically protruding brain stem, the brains were in good shape and prompted great discussion on the functions of the mammalian brain.

The dissection portion of the day ended at noon. The group then moved to a different room for a pizza lunch. They also viewed educational videos on the evolution of the mammalian brains. The event concluded by 1:00 pm.

Though the dissection was run by the MGCI Cancer Society, it had little to do with cancer. However, Henry discusses his rationale behind the event with, “Although it isn’t directly related [to cancer], it encourages students to look into research and science.”

Many of the students enjoyed themselves and would recommend the activity to other students. Amy Chen, a Grade 9 student, said “ I had a lot of fun… it was really interesting, I learned a lot.”

Another Grade 9 student, Pablo Gonzalez, expressed his thoughts. “I liked it very much. Using a microscope during a dissection was a new experience.”