Wednesday, March 14, 2012

First Dissection

Kal-El beginning his first dissection.

Kal-El was the person to retrieve our mail yesterday.  It was the day the latest version of the "Home Science Tools" catalog came.  I was surprised when he was really excited and asked if he could have it because I remembered it as being full of endless pictures of microscopes, beakers, flasks, and rock picks. It turns out the catalog is a lot more interesting than that and I had forgotten that things like rock picks and beakers are right up Kal-El's alley!

Before long, Kal-El came to me with a list of "requests."  He wants to learn chemistry.  He wants a distiller.  And above all else, he wants a deluxe dissecting tools set and a sheep's brain.  His favorite page is the the page of preserved specimens for dissection.

Not one to wait and rely on Mom, Kal-El took matters into his own hands that very afternoon.  He spent quite some time in the yard with his bug net.  He caught two live house flies and successfully transferred them to his specimen containers.  When my husband put them to bed last night he said he saw that Kal-El had set out a tray, scissors, and his specimens on his dresser to "use in the morning."  He confiscated them and said that dissection was a "downstairs and with Mommy" activity...especially the first time.

Kal-El gets up early, sometimes 5:30, and the rest of the family isn't really up until 6:15.  He wasn't too upset that he couldn't get straight to work dissecting.  When I came downstairs this morning I found that he had done the following preparatory work:

I found that his 1000-page Audubon Insect Field Guide was open to the appropriate page and that he had dug out our rubber replica of a house fly.

He also found our packet of three-part cards for the house fly and had not only completed them all, but  also removed the matching pieces from the wooden Montessori puzzle of a house fly and matched them to the three-part cards.

When I was ready to assist him, I taught him how to use a tweezers to hold the specimen and then he cut the specimen into the following parts:  wing, leg, head, abdomen, and thorax.  More detailed dissection would not be possible with a pair of Fiskars child's safety scissors.

When it came down to it, he didn't choose to dissect a house fly.  Instead he dissected a long-necked seed beetle from his collection.  Perhaps because, unlike the flies, it was already dead.  There was a bit of drama after he made his first cut and the specimen's head dropped onto the carpet in the school room...the carpet that is speckled by design so that on an everyday basis you DON'T see every speck of dirt on the floor.  But, in the end the head was recovered.  There was much rejoicing.

He put each body part on a piece of white paper and labeled them with a pencil.  As he viewed each body part under the microscope he "checked them off" on his sheet.  That is why you see a backwards check after "thorax" in the following picture.

Kal-El sounded out the words himself.  He conscientiously added a silent-e to the end of "abdomen" to make the "o" say its name.  I didn't have the heart to tell him any differently.

I just wish I had a way to take a picture of what we could see through the microscope.  Things looked A.  MAZ. ING.  !!!  You would have thought we were at the superbowl from all the exclamations of joy and surprise.  We have a Brock Magiscope by the way.  It works as both a stereoscope and a microscope and I wrote all about it here if you need a refresher.

I suggested that he might want to do a drawing of how each part looked under the microscope but he declined.  Maybe next time.  I think he didn't want to slow down.

Kal-El says that he hopes there is science in heaven (they like to make a list of the great things in life that they think should be in heaven when they get there) because it is the MOST AMAZING thing ever.

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  1. Nice work Kal-El! Hope the love for science continues.

  2. Awwwww!

    We bought Josiah a real dissecting kit and a full set of I think 6 animals to dissect when he was 5. I did the actual cutting with the scalpel. He used the surgical scissors and the tweezers. That was followed three months later with the boy's big Christmas present of a stereoscope. It just did 10x but it made the 5 and 6 need to look at everything small - snot, baby lizard, spider, you name it - something that mommy didn't need to be a part of.

    Thanks for the good memories.

  3. Oh my GOSH!!!! That is AWESOME! Way to go Kal-El!!!!! Such amazing work! I love it! I am really impressed! I will have to show Bunny in the morning!

  4. Hi, what I love is that Kal-E knew exactly where to find all he needs. Can you describe (or write a post) on how you store/display your part cards?

    Also, are you not good friends with Leann from MontessoriTidbits? I'm her good friend from Australia.

    Love,love, love your posts. One of my fav blogs. Thanks so much for all your hard work!

  5. Dream Before You,

    That post already exists, here's a link to speed you to it:

    Yes! Love Leanne's blog!