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Fri, Sep 8, 2017 at 05:00 AM

Homeschoolers laugh with doctor while learning about heart.

Homeschoolers got a science lesson on the heart from a doctor, but with all the giggles and snickers you would think he was a comedian.

“That was amazing,” said Lynn Burgess, director of the Boaz Public Library, which hosts students for Homeschool Hangout once a month. September’s session featured Dr. Michael Luther of Sand Mountain Family Practice in Albertville. 

Dr. Luther shared many fascinating facts with about 35 kids who hooted at his antics, which included convincing them he mistakenly packed a beating heart in his lunch bag instead of a ham sandwich. They could hear it beating, thanks to Bluetooth. He also squirted them with a syringe that kids believed was filled with blood. He even stretched out on the floor and let a student try to shock his heart back to life. 

Throughout all the guffaws, the students actually learned quite a bit. They took turns using a stethoscope on each other. They calculated how many times a heart beats during a person’s lifetime by counting beats per minute and multiplying it by hours, days and years to come up with billions. 

“It’s pretty amazing that something the size of your fist will work 2 to 4 billion times in a lifetime,” Dr. Luther told the students. 

Other tantalizing tidbits students picked up included:

  • The heart beats about 50 million times before birth
  • The heart works like a pump sending blood around the body through veins and arteries that serve as pipes
  • The heart pumps about 2,000 gallons of blood a day through its chambers

“I think it’s one of the coolest organs we’ve got because it does so much,” Dr. Luther said. “I think it’s a miracle that our heart knows how to make electricity. And it can do everything it needs to while we sleep.” 

Dr. Luther is from Geraldine. He graduated from the University of Alabama School of Medicine in Birmingham and completed his residency at the Tuscaloosa Family Medicine Program in Tuscaloosa. Sand Mountain Family Practice can be reached at (256)878-8180.