We went to the Houston Museum of Natural Science last week to view the Body Worlds exhibit. I realize it can be quite controversial to cut up dead bodies and put them on display for others to gawk at, but there really is no better learning experience for studying the human body that I know of! Even medical students flock to this exhibit to learn more about the human body here than they can with a cadaver.
Using a process called plastination, bodies are not only carefully preserved, but still moldable, so much can be done to show the body in motion, as well as the many intricate details of this amazing machine God has given each one of us for our time here on this earth. All bodies used are donated specifically for this research.
Although this exhibit was considerably smaller than the original in Germany, which we saw about ten years ago, it was still a great exponential learning opportunity. We were able to easily observe each of the major systems of the human body, separately. Most people have seen a skeleton, but have you seen the nervous system - just the brain, the spinal cord, and all the attached nerves - nothing else? Or how about the circulatory system, with nothing attached? And then there were the many poses showing different muscles being used, as well as tendons, ligaments, etc. There were two digestive systems side by side: one was just as it would be inside one's body, all squished together, and the other was stretched out the length of a human body. What a contrast!
Another section showed each organ separately; some were healthy, some were diseased. We observed cirrhosis of the liver, smoker's lungs, cancer, spina bifida, and many other diseases.
We saw a 3 week old fetus. That was amazing!
This horse and rider gave us a new appreciation for both the horse and how we are created in God's image. There are a LOT of differences here.
There were audio tours available, if you desire, that explain in great detail about how each part of the body works as you are looking at that particular part. It was very informative, but I didn't like the fact that it drew you into your own little world, and even though we were there as a group, we were all listening to our headphones separately. I would love to have a tour guide talk us through instead.
We watched a planetarium show and an IMAX about the human body to maximize our science day. They were both fairly good. The museum human body bookstore was outstanding! I picked up several things there that I have not seen in the homeschool community. Good stuff!
Body Worlds will be on display through September 4. I recommend going in late August.
On another note, we were listening to Jonathan Park in the car on the way to Houston and when we arrived, we were about halfway through the episode where they discover the hidden treasures of Ur of the Chaldees. When we stepped into the museum, the featured traveling exhibit was "The Royal Tombs of Ur: Ancient Treasures from Modern Iraq." That was a God thing! It briefly mentioned Abraham, and it was quite interesting.
Lesson learned: don't plan a field trip when 50 public school buses are going to the same place! The noise was deafening, but after 2 p.m. it was quite enjoyable!