Dr. Jim Litch talks about the human spine with students Emma Freedman, left, and Tashi Litch.

In recent weeks, third, fourth and fifth-grade students at Salmonberry School have explored many aspects of the human body with guidance from their teacher Paul Freedman and two Salmonberry School parents who are local physicians.

“Dr. Jim Litch presented a terrific lesson on the structure and function of the human spine,” said Freedman. “He focused on keeping the spine and the nerves it contains strong and healthy, and on avoiding injuries when bike-riding and diving. He also talked about the diagnostic process for spinal injuries and conducted some experiments on our ability to sense temperature changes.”

In addition, Dr. Rachel Bishop led a fun and informative lesson in which students played detectives, examining a series of real x-rays for clues, according to Freedman. “The x-rays gave students clear pictures of the human skeletal system,” Dr. Bishop said. “Thanks to the Group Health Foundation for the loan of their spinal model, x-rays and other teaching materials.”

Dr. Litch is a family physician at Orcas Medical Center, and Dr. Bishop is a family physician at the Inter Island Medical Center on San Juan Island.

According to Freedman, other science lessons in the Salmonberry curriculum have emphasized the importance of a balanced diet for health and wellness. “We like to integrate strong academics with active learning to inspire our students to develop as creative thinkers and doers,” he said.