Virtual cadaver tables replace textbooks for Dickson County high school science students

Posted at 6:16 AM, Sep 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-09 07:56:51-04

DICKSON, Tenn. (WTVF) — A 24” x 80” screened-Anatomage table replaced textbooks for Dickson County high school students at the start of the 2022-2023 school year, changing the game for learning anatomy and physiology.

"It's pretty much like the A&P version of Google," explained Dickson County sophomore Grant Kruse.

The tables contain life-sized male and female gross anatomy, including four full-body 3D cadavers and animals for Agricultural students to study as well.

"It's literally like having a cadaver in the classroom. So it's, it's invaluable. Like I truly cannot express how important this table is and how much easier it's going to make it and how it's going to help them be able to get the concepts of where things are out in the body and like how they function because I can take the layers off and show them," stated Dickson County High School anatomy and physiology teacher Deanna Lusk.

Dickson County High School Anatomy and Physiology Teacher Deanna Lusk

Lusk said she is building her entire class curriculum around using the table for teaching, labs, quizzes and more.

"It's so hard to wrap your brain around where parts of the body are in relation to other parts. And so this just makes it easy," Lusk explained. "We can look at different angles. We can literally take it off piece by piece and they're like, ‘Oh, it's right there. That makes more sense.’"

The district purchased two of the tables at $83,075 each with its 2021 GIVE 2.0 grant for its health science programs of study. The district received $695,023 through the grant. Some of the rest of the money was allocated to an ambulance simulator and a "demo dose cart."

"Our anatomage tables are an outstanding learning tool, during our research we saw these tables were mainly at the top colleges. We are very happy to give our students exposure to this level of technology," said Dickson County Director of Schools Danny Weeks. "These kinds of purchases and program upgrades would be impossible without grant opportunities from the state and we want to thank everyone involved at that level. We also want to thank Nashville State CC for being our fiscal agent and Dickson County Chamber for being the lead entity."

Dickson County high school students and their teacher prepare to use their 24” x 80” screened-Anatomage table to learn in lieu of textbooks in their anatomy and physiology class.

Lusk said the technology is more advanced than what she had to learn in higher education.

"It’s the most incredible teaching tool I've ever seen," said Lusk. "I didn't have anything like this going through nursing school. So it's amazing. It would have made nursing school much easier!"

Students and teachers can manipulate the table to show all layers of the body.

"Coursework starts at the very basic and can move to more advanced topics such as breaking down different organ systems into their various structures, show blood flow through vessels and highlight nerves and their relation to specific organs," explained Weeks. "We can dissect cadavers, move the body in 3D space, take out parts, set quizzes for students to identify anatomy, etc. It has case libraries which are a collection of CT and MRI scans to get a clinical or pathological perspective."

The 24” x 80” screened-Anatomage table allows students to pull back the layers of the body layer by layer to learn how all its systems are connected more easily than flipping through a textbook.

"Once I found out about this table, it really changed my perspective on like how I'm going to advance in this class, in this field because I've realized that instead of just, you know, flipping through textbooks and just reading kind of the same message after message, I can just simply like, turn on the table," said Kruse who hopes to be a therapist someday.

Students explained the table makes science class the most technologically-advanced class at school.

"Some of them it's made their mind maybe this is not what they want to do based off what they're seeing on the table, but for–most of them there, it just makes them that much more excited to learn and to get to those next steps to get through with high school and go on to college," Lusk said.

Dickson County is not the only district with the tables, Sumner County also installed the tables in its high school science classes at the end of the 2021-2022 school year.

The 24” x 80” screened-Anatomage table can also help Agriculture students learn animal anatomy for cows, goats, horses, dogs, cats, snakes and more.