Autumn’s arrival at Canterbury does not just entail pumpkin spiced lattes, flannels, and football; it also means it’s time for Mrs. Sizemore’s hallmark activity of orange dissection. The orange serves as a stand-in for the brain and provides the Applied Psychology class a hands-on way to learn about the more intricate parts of the mind.
Her fifteen students this morning performed “brain surgery” on their oranges and documented their progress in a lab worksheet. Just like surgery, the students must be careful in how they cut around the orange. “It was a fun way to tackle the brain. But I probably shouldn’t be a brain surgeon,” Conor T. ’23 told us with a laugh. “I cut the white part of my orange by mistake and that technically means that my orange died.” The students had to identify various parts of the brain like the olfactory bulbs and cerebellum using items such as raisins, gummies, and toothpicks. Diego M.’23, stated, “It was amazing! Even though my raisin brain stem split my orange way too far, I still had a lot of fun.”
Mrs. Sizemore first learned about this activity in 2005 at an Advanced Placement Psychology class training, and she has been using it ever since. However, each year’s citrus surgeons tackle the activity differently: some are precise, some are wild, and others are nonchalant. “I haven’t laughed this hard in a long time,” Mrs. Sizemore said. “This year’s group is high-energy and fun and bright. They aren’t just memorizing the material, they’re engaging and asking questions and taking it to the next level.” What a great way to start a Friday morning!