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Exploration and Hands-On Learning

  • Academics
Davina K. '23

Academics are a unique experience at Penn Charter. In allowing Upper School students to build their own schedule, we are given the chance to focus on what interests us. With this freedom, students are able to develop a deeper love of learning and exploration. Our electives at Penn Charter make this possible with dynamic courses in each subject of our curriculum. Ranging from Sports Analytics to Costume Design, there is a wide variety of electives to incorporate into your schedule, making your school day even more enjoyable. 

This past semester, I participated in one of our science electives: Anatomy and Physiology. In this course, we learned about the different systems that contribute to the intricate inner workings of our bodies. Covering the skeletal, circulatory, and digestive systems through interactive labs and real-life stories, we left the class with a deeper understanding of our bodies and how complex they really are. One reason I chose this elective was to get hands-on experience, helping me to visually understand concepts that are otherwise hard to grasp in the intricate world of human biology. This course also consisted of topics that have real-world applications, providing me with an introduction to a career in science that I am interested in pursuing in the future. 

First page of the PDF file: DavinaCirculatorySystemProjectPicture

During class, we had weekly lectures and discussions on different systems that make up our anatomy, as well as weekly labs that correlated to the system being examined. One highlight was our Personal Trainer Project, for which we explored three sports of our choosing. Designing personalized workouts based on each athlete’s goal for their sport, we incorporated all areas of the muscular system. I loved this project for showing that even the simplest of exercises have advanced muscular moves that require cooperation from other parts of the body to accomplish. 

Another highlight of this year was our research and presentation of artificial hearts. As part of our circulatory system unit, we researched the history of heart transplants, their use, and the impact of artificial hearts in the medical industry. This was interesting to learn because of the ethical discussions around this topic, blending my personal interests of science and legislation. To continue this study, I would love to take Biomedical Ethics next year in order to further explore the moral discussions surrounding the medical industry. This only scratches the surface of the ways that our electives can challenge us!

Two students in lab coats and goggles focus with scalpel  on a something out of frame

While all of these lessons and projects have been fascinating, the highlight of this semester was most notably the rabbit dissection. Our task was to dissect and observe all the systems in the rabbit anatomy that we learned from the coursework on human anatomy. To prepare, we researched rabbit anatomy to have a better awareness of how the human and rabbit organisms differ. On dissection day, my partner and I were very nervous but excited for the activity ahead. When we began, there was a queasy and uneasy feeling welling up, but as time went on, I found it intriguing and exciting. The coolest part of the dissection was observing the rabbit's heart in which we were able to see the flow of blood through the ventricles of the heart.  

I​ loved how the content learned in this class could be easily seen in our everyday lives and the intricate science that makes us able to perform the seemingly simplest tasks, such as walking. I recommend this elective to any student who has a passion for science or anyone who wants to have a deeper understanding of our bodies!

students in lab coats and googles at lab desks work on a dissection
  • Academics
  • Science
  • Upper School

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