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Head, Hands & Heart In Internal Organs Main Lesson

As part of the Internal Organs Main Lesson, Class 10 pupils engage the hands (dissection) and heart (artistic anatomical diagrams) in a topic that could otherwise be delivered to the head (thinking) only.


In the Spring Term, Class 10 have a Main Lesson on Internal Organs. The introduction involves looking at the views of the ancient Greeks and the Ayurvedic wisdoms. They then progress to look at the organs of the digestive and cardiovascular systems and then the lungs. Last, breathing is examined.


As a practical, pupils this year dissected a lamb’s heart, as well as a ‘pluck’: an integrated trachea, lungs, heart and liver, in the lab to investigate the organs as they occur in the body.

This provides a unique opportunity to learn physiology through the hands and engage with each organ’s unique tactile texture and astonishingly beautiful details, for example the valves and tendonous chords in the heart. So perfectly designed and of minimal size, yet crucial to staying alive.

As well as engaging the hands through dissection in this Main Lesson that could, if thought differently, easily only engage the thinking, the pupils engaged the heart through creating artistically engaged diagrams of each organ system.

There is no significant homework or indeed any testing in order to keep the emphasis on the awakening and engagement of interest.

The Main Lesson Programme incorporates many aspects from the Discipline of Sciences in the Upper School timetable. Class 10 pupils also study Embryology, Inorganic Chemistry and Trigonometry. Next year they have Chemistry of Metals and Surveying.

Main Lessons are delivered each morning in blocks of two-four weeks, forming the core of the Steiner curriculum. Their content is separate from preparation for examinations.  (Learn more: What is a ‘Main Lesson’ and why is it such a big part of the timetable?)


Pupils nonetheless continue to follow the thread of human physiology beyond the Main Lesson programme in Class 10, ahead of it being an exam option the following year. Two weekly lessons in the Sciences are timetabled throughout the academic year. In contrast to the Main Lessons in the discipline, these lessons form a sound base for studying Biology, Chemistry and/or Physics at exam level; aimed at giving pupils an idea about what the individual fields in science entail so as to make an informed choice when they come to select their National 5 subjects in Class 11; continuing on to Highers in the sciences in Class 12.

Biology consists of class-led topics, which explore topics of choice whilst also incorporating correcting wrongly formed concepts through e.g. media use. Sensory organs, disease – in particular infectious disease and vaccinations, and the physical (electrical impulse) and chemical (receptor – neurotransmitter reactions) elements of the brain are also commonly covered areas of human biology. Pupils learn how new medicines are developed and tested before being taken into use; and discuss healthy and unhealthy social relationship patterns.

Q: What do we mean when we talk about education for the hand, heart and head? Learn more


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Head, Hands & Heart In Internal Organs Main Lesson – Steiner Waldorf Main Lesson Programme

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