Mississippi BodyWalk Blog

being smart from the inside out

Body Walk Summer Update May 20, 2010

Filed under: Body Walk — mississippibodywalk @ 1:24 PM
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Hello from Body Walk!

Have you ever wondered what Body Walk does during the summer? We prepare the exhibit for the fall of course. This is the time of year when we get the truck serviced. Just like people need to stay on top of their physical health, the truck needs a yearly service inspection. We get the oil changed, and the tires checked, and . . . well, all the other stuff mechanics do to keep the truck in tip-top shape.

We maintain the props as well. If you have been through Body Walk, you know each room has a big gray tote in it. This tote stores all the props for each room. Most of those props are plastic and in the Mississippi heat, they would melt in the truck. To prevent this, each tote is removed from the truck and stored inside. This year, they are stored in Katie and Vivian’s office.

The totes. What's behind the plant?

More totes! What's on the other wall?

Even more totes! Body Walk sure has a lot of props.

Cute huh? I know, I know, you wish you had office decor as awesome as this. It ‘s also functional and next year, our props will be in good shape instead of one melted mess.  We strive to bring realistic looking food, lungs, muscles, and teeth to every setup. Realistic props help kids learn. Much more useful than blobs of unidentifiable plastic.

What’s next for Body Walk? Training! There will be an interactive video training sometime in August. This is a GREAT opportunity for you to learn more about Body Walk and to have any questions answered before the truck rolls into your county in the fall.  There will be more information about the training closer to the date.

In the meantime, be on the lookout for posts about exercise, healthy meals, and kid friendly activities that parents and kids can do together. Have a Body Walk question? Post it in the comments.


Body Walk Resources May 19, 2010

Hello from Body Walk!

Today I wanted to talk about the Body Walk manual. If you have had Body Walk before in your county, you are probably familiar with the manual (found here.)  If you are going to have Body Walk for the first time this fall, I wanted to point out some of the things in the resource section of the manual, and explain how they can be used, and when they should be used. *Note, you have to be an Extension Agent to access the manual. If you are a teacher, principal, nurse, or parent, please contact your local extension agent for more information.

The Appendix is where all forms are. In here you will find press releases, letters to send to schools, media, potential volunteers and teachers. The hard work is done for you, all you have to do is fill out the details. Let’s look at a few examples.

Letter to the School Coordinator. This is exactly what it sounds like. This is a letter letting the School Coordinator know Body Walk is coming, and you will be in touch to work with him or her on the planning. The School Coordinator is usually a lead teacher, the head PE teacher, or the school nurse. Sometimes this person is the principal, but that is rare.

Body Walk Information Sheet. This form is VERY IMPORTANT. This is the form you fill out and fax (or mail) to the Body Walk office. This form tells us the name of and directions to the set up location, the number of volunteers, the name of the school coordinator and more. It is vital that this form be filled out clearly and completely and sent in on time.

Classroom Schedule. This form is usually filled out by you and the school coordinator. Each CLASS is usually divided into two or more GROUPS and those groups go in every five minutes. For example, if Ms. Jones’ class has 21 students, seven of those students would go in at 8am (group 1), then the next seven (group 2) go in at 8:05, her last group (group 3) enters at 8:10. She can expect her entire class to be finished at 9:10, one hour after her last group started. Ms. Smith would start her group 1 at 8:15, her group 2 at 8:20, and her group 3 at 8:25. The rest of the classes follow in the same manner. Some classes may have only 2 groups, it all depends on class size. We get many questions about group size. Six to eight students is ideal. We can fit 10 K or First graders if necessary, but not 10 Fifth graders. Fifth graders are bigger and the rooms are only so big.

Station Presenters. There is a form for a morning and afternoon shift for station presenters. If you have shifts, then fill out both forms, but some locations have the same people all day. Both ways of managing volunteers work for Body Walk.

Teacher Memo 1. There are actually three Teacher Memo’s but this first one is especially informative. Included in this memo is the following explanation of the Body Walk exhibit, which is very helpful to teachers.

At each of Body Walk’s ten stations, a volunteer presenter engages the students in a five minute
activity focused on healthy choices. The tour begins when students, in groups of six to
eight, walk through a giant ear into the brain. Inside the huge brain dome, students
experience “brain waves” and learn about brain function. After they leave the brain, the
students are each given a bookmark designating them as a food, such as a carrot,
hamburger or piece of cheese. The “foods” step into the exhibit’s larger-than-life mouth,
are “swallowed” through the esophagus tunnel and move into the stomach dome. From
the stomach, the students travel through the small intestine where they are “absorbed”
into the blood. Then they follow the path of the nutrients to the heart, lung, bone, muscle
and skin stations. Students leave the body through a cut in the skin and proceed through
The OrganWise Guy’s Pathway for Life. This final station recaps key health concepts from
each of the nine previous stations.

Volunteer Recruitment Letter. This letter is aimed at parents. Many schools do use parent volunteers to help set up, take down, and run the stations. However, there are many, many more options for volunteers. Some counties have used ROTC students, Allied Health students, Beta students, Crown Club members, volunteer firemen, retired teachers, and college nursing students. All high school students must be over 15 years old. Volunteers are what makes the Body Walk possible, and recruiting them early ensures a good experience for everyone. Recruit more than you think you will need.

There are a few other forms in the appendix, all of which are self-explanatory. Body Walk is a  big program, one that requires planning. The office staff is ready to help you at any point in your preparations. The manual is an excellent resource, and should answer most questions that you have. If you have a tip, or an example of something you did that worked well in your county, please share it in the comments.


Body Walk Jones County: Ellisville May 6, 2010

Filed under: Body Walk — mississippibodywalk @ 2:38 PM
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This was the LAST trip of the semester for Body Walk.  The exhibit traveled to Ellisville, MS, in  Jones County.  Over 1000 South Jones Elementary students got to tour the exhibit.  Kim Tolbert, 4-H, together with Cindi Wilson, school nurse, made the trip a success.

Set up Monday was in a carpeted multipurpose building. This was only the second carpeted room body walk has been set up in. A carpeted floor is a rare treat for Body Walk. As one can imagine, when the exhibit is full of children, and there are kids coming and leaving, the noise can be high. With a carpeted floor, a lot of sound is absorbed and the sound of shoes dropping to the floor is completely gone. It seemed to help  the presenters most, because they didn’t have to talk quite as loudly to be heard over the din.

Set up went great. Everyone worked together as a team, and soon the entire structure was up and ready to be toured. Tuesday and Wednesday, K-5th grade came class by class to learn how they could ‘be smart from the inside out.”  The third graders took a short quiz after they finished and most seemed very confident as they put down their answer. As usual, the mouth was the big winner for favorite room for all ages, although many kids liked the bones, muscle, and small intestine rooms this time around.

The presenters were JCJC, Jones County Junior College nursing students. Tuesday, they were all dressed up, having come straight to work (or straight to volunteer) from a special class breakfast. Wednesday’s crew were in the more familiar scrubs.  Nursing students always do a fantastic job as Body Walk station presenters. Obviously, they know about the human body, but also, they care about people. Their concern shines through as they teach the children how and why it is important to be healthy every day. They are teaching the students that they can make choices and they can control their health. This is an important, empowering message for young people who are setting the health habits now that will be with them for a lifetime.

Being Smart From the Inside Out