Science in society:

Heart surgery and dissection

Significant advances are being made in the materials and treatment available to treat cardiovascular disease and disorders alongside advanced computer modelling. While computer models enable students to see the actions of working hearts the benefits of practical hands on dissection remains.

Heart dissections are a common class activity and this lesson plan and supporting information is designed to inject some new life into a familiar practical investigation. This investigative lesson plan approaches the practical dissection as a problem solving exercise, emphasising care and consideration of animal tissues.

The activity progresses through identification of the key features of the heart to carrying out simulation of heart surgery. This requires patience, careful observation and manual dexterity, promoting team work and pride in the learning experience as opposed to a straightforward destructive exercise that can occur without a constructive problem solving aim.

The lesson plan is supported with up to date information on current research to improve health and wellbeing and links to further information. The practical activities can be run as demonstrations or hands-on activities.

Heart surgery and dissection (PDF 459KB)

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