Anyone up for a tour of the lungs?

Spring Break starts next week and while many people may head to warmer, sunnier places, the ninth graders are creating guidebooks of their own, hoping to entice travelers to a much different destination: The human body.

The idea was first-year Liggett Upper School teacher Tiffany Meyer’s and what she was trying to do was to find a way to assess her students’ knowledge of the eight biological systems in the human body in a way that was different from testing.

“Some students, when it comes to a test, get nervous, and I wanted them to demonstrate that they have a deeper sense of understanding of the information, but in a creative way that I might not otherwise see on a test,” she said. The other biology teacher, Russ Glenn, is also doing the project with his students.

So students were grouped, though some chose to do their own project, and asked to create a brochure detailing a trip through the human body and its biological systems. The results are a fun mix of science and humor and a project informed by the Curriculum for Understanding tenets of teamwork and creativity, among others.

For instance: One group’s tour through the heart offers tourists a chance to get up close and personal with phagocyte cells. “We offer a once-in-a-lifetime experience with a real Phagocyte cell. Phagocyte cells are created to find and destroy cells that have been infected with viruses.” Of course, there’s a legal disclaimer: Please do not go near the phagocyte cell if you are ill. It is highly possible that the phagocyte  cell may mistake you for a virus-ridden cell. Insurance does not cover sudden death by phagocyte cell.

Another group takes you to the Digester Amusement Park featuring rides like the Esophagus Shoot and the Cooling Colon where you are “shot up, across, and down with the help of mucus.” As one might expect, you are dropped off in the gift shop.

Meyer seems as excited as the kids working on them. She says she’s truly seeing a new side of her students and she takes great pleasure from seeing the creativity — and knowledge — on display.

In the end, the students present their work and the winner is voted on by the other students.

As great as the kids make these trips sound, though, I’ll probably still choose someplace warm and sunny.

By Ron Bernas