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Published: Tuesday, 5/4/2010

Traveling teacher shares knowledge about good health


MONROE - Cantrick Elementary School student Jordan Agrawal couldn't accurately pronounce the Latin name for the part of the sheep eyeball called tapetum lucidum.

But the second-grader was correct when he explained that the bluish-colored area of the eye enables sheep to see at night.

That was among the bits of information that Terri Langton relayed to Jordan, 7, and about 60 other second-graders in a dissection program aimed at promoting eye safety and an understanding of the importance of protecting eyesight.

"These are the only eyes we have. We have to take special care of our eyes," she told a group of about 15.

Since 1986, Ms. Langton has been the regional school health coordinator for Monroe and Lenawee counties.

As one of 25 coordinators in the state, she leads elementary students through the dissection of livestock organs and body parts to illustrate how the body works and the importance of healthy living.

After watching Ms. Langton cut into eye and point out eight important parts of it, each student was given a sheep eye and asked to dissect it.

In protective goggles and rubber gloves, the students carefully used scissors to take apart the organs under the direction of Ms. Langton, teachers, and parent volunteers.

Ms. Langton also told the students that the chemical that preserves the eyeballs for dissection is the same that is used to treat tobacco leaves and that it also makes lenses and corneas cloudy.

As health education consultant for the Monroe County Intermediate School District, Ms. Langton travels to nine school districts and parochial schools in the county.

She gives the same educational program to 12 public schools in Lenawee County.

The object of the dissection is adjusted to grade levels and the organ system that is being studied.

For instance, fifth-graders dissect pig lungs when they are studying the respiratory system.

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