Pupils mesmerised by lesson on lungs

Otago Polytechnic Nursing School senior lecturer Kimberly Smith shows George Street Normal School...
Otago Polytechnic Nursing School senior lecturer Kimberly Smith shows George Street Normal School pupils (from left) Cai Ricketts (10), Slade McKay (10), Lewis MacLennan (9), Ben Homer (10), Thomas Hill (10), Izzy Elworthy (10), Emily Graamans (11), principal Robyn Wood and Siyao Zhu (9) how lungs work, using a pair of deer lungs and a bike pump. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
Watching a set of deer’s lungs being inflated by a bicycle pump was enough to take the breath away from George Street Normal School pupils yesterday.

While some pupils "gulped and looked away", principal Robyn Wood said most of them were mesmerised by the exhibit.

"It’s a wonderful experience for them and it’s something that they will hold on to for life.

"They won’t ever forget seeing those lungs blow up in front of them, and seeing them working. It took their breath away."

Mrs Wood said it was one of many exhibits run by school parents with medical expertise, to show pupils how their bodies work.

"Our overall topic for the year is ‘things that go together’, so the seniors chose to look at the body systems and the things that go together."

Pupils were also able to see how echocardiograms used sound waves to produce images of the heart beating and pumping blood, how electrocardiograms (ECG) recorded electrical signals from the heart to check for different heart conditions, and how pulse oximetry measured blood oxygen levels.

They were shown how the the nervous system got information to and from the brain to control body systems and behaviour; and there was a session on food through the digestive system.

"Because our parent community is largely based down at the University of Otago and Otago Polytechnic with lots of expertise, we are extremely lucky to be able to tap into that," she said.

"You can see from the excitement of the children, it’s rich in terms of learning and they’ve been able to ask questions about their bodies that they’ve never been able to ask before.

"If only we had the same experience when we were kids."

john.lewis@odt.co.nz

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