Body of knowledge
By MONICA SPRINGER, Garden City Telegram education reporter
A group of about 10 third-graders listened closely to instructions given by St.
Sara Mckenna from St. Catherine Hospital talks to Alta Brown students about the lungs and how they work. (photograph courtesy of Laurie Sisk, Garden City Telegram)
Catherine Hospital volunteers.
Each student was pretending to be a piece of food. They already had learned how food travels through the mouth and the importance of brushing and flossing teeth.
Now, they were in the stomach.
Janie Wimmer, St. Catherine spokeswoman, told students that a sandwich and an apple is a well-balanced meal. Now, the meal had to be digested.
The kids got up from sitting cross-legged, threw their hands in the air and jumped around in circles — they were being digested.
Students at Alta Brown Elementary School spent Thursday digesting information about food and the human body through an exhibit called "Body Venture."
"Body Venture" involves a series of tents set up in a school gymnasium. The traveling exhibit is operated by the state department of education and is making its rounds across the state.
"Being in the 3-D part of it is pretty neat," said Constance Kells, a volunteer from St. Catherine.
St. Catherine Hospital brought its employees to volunteer at the event because it partners with Alta Brown as partners in education.
Kells taught students about the small intestines. She told the students that the small intestine is 20 feet long, or as high as a two-story building.
Kells said the students' eyes got wide at that remark.
She said the students who are hands-on learners likely will benefit from the exhibit.
"This will help kids that are visual. It helps them understand that they should eat the things they are told to eat, like fruits and vegetables," Kells said.
Students enter the first tent, which is the brain, where they learn that the brain is the boss of the body.
The brain students then enter the mouth exhibit, where they sit on chairs shaped like teeth. They are asked to floss the teeth with a piece of rope.
They also learn other important aspects of healthy teeth.
Vashon Telfaira, Ethan Perkins and Stephanie Lara, all 9, along with Alexis Padilla, 10, said they learned the effects of tobacco on a person's health.
The third-graders said it ruins lungs and makes teeth turn yellow.
"We have to take care of our teeth. If you use tobacco, it will make your teeth rotten," Lara said.
The third-graders all said they thought the exhibit was fun, and that they planned to brush and floss their teeth when they go home after school.
After the students venture through the small intestines, they learn that food is absorbed into the blood stream and impacts skin, muscle and bones.
The students conclude their venture when they leave the body through a cut in the skin.
Valerie Rainman, a nurse at Alta Brown, said the exhibit incorporates physical activity along with learning. She also agreed with Kells and said students are more likely to learn if they can touch and feel the exhibit as they walk through the body.
"Research shows kids learn more by touching. It adds so much," Rainman said.