Introducing elementary students to the world of science can take many forms, like making a baking soda volcano, constructing popsicle-stick bridges for a competition, or of course …dissecting bovine eyeballs.

Sixth-graders at Peterson Elementary School on Thursday learned about the structure of the eyeball from anatomy students at Mazama High School, mainly by cutting open real examples.

Sixth-grader Rosie Mitchell, found the experience very visceral.


“Ew!” she said. “I’m never going to look at an eyeball the same way again.”

However, she still found the lesson enjoyable.

“It’s squishy and it’s gross, but it’s fun,” she added.

Following COVID-19 safety protocols, this year’s eyeball dissection was set up on tables outside, and students wore masks.

Last year, the then fifth-graders dissected sheep brains with Mazama anatomy students.

Bringing the Mazama students to Peterson to teach anatomy to fifth- and sixth-graders has become a tradition over the last few years, according to Mazama science and anatomy teacher Laura Nickerson.

“It’s setting up high schoolers to be mentors and showing sixth-graders the kinds of classes they’ll have the opportunity to take in high school,” she said. “It’s been a really good joint effort between both schools.”

Peterson Elementary School sixth-graders Gage Mortenson and Daniel Barajas dissect a bovine eyeball

Peterson Elementary School sixth-grader Jada Martinez uses scissors to begin the dissection of a bovine eyeball.