University of Mississippi, School of Nursing Student volunteers
Body Walk traveled to Hinds County in Mississippi. There, we set up the exhibit at the First Presbyterian Day School. We saw over 500 K-5th grade students. The presenters inside the stations were students from the University of MS School of Nursing. They are in an accelerated program where they get a degree in 15 months instead of the more usual two years. They all did a phenomenal job. Since so many of them came, they got to take turns inside the room, one talking while the other handled the props. This was a big help since working inside the Body Walk means talking a lot. They got to rest their voices from time to time. The result was the enthusiasm they had in the morning was still going strong by days end.
Rocheryl Ware booked Body Walk for her county. Other Extension employees on hand to help make the day a success were Theresa Hand, County Director, and Melissa Morgan, 4-H. Principal Gary Harring was on hand most of the day and he even toured with his grandson’s group. Checking on them from time to time, the smile on his face said he enjoyed the trip. Dr. Tina Martin, Instructor from the University of MS School of Nursing and Paula Clark, Assistant Director of Curriculum also helped make the day a success.
The kids started inside the head tent where they learned about their brain and how to keep it healthy. They learned to wear a helmet, eat breakfast, and that if their brain is healthy, then probably the rest of their body is also healthy. The best way to have a healthy brain is to make smart choices.
After the brain, they went into the mouth station. Here they got to sit on a tooth. The presenters let them brush the teeth, and use white nylon rope as dental floss to brush the teeth. The kids loved it. There is a huge tongue outside the mouth station which shows where on the tongue flavors are strongest. One boy, seeing the tongue across the room before he started his tour had a question, “Is anything gonna taste us?”
Keeping the smile bright takes brushing and flossing.
In the stomach, the presenters showed the children many food models of healthy food, and the proper portion of the healthy food. They taught them about digestion and how while a lot of digestion happens in the stomach, it’s not completed there. After they ‘churned’ in the stomach, the left for the small intestine.
Fill your stomach with healthy foods in proper portion.
In the intestine, the children were ‘absorbed’ by the villi into the blood stream. They learned how long a person’s intestine are on average (22 feet) and why it is so very important to drink eight glasses of water a day. The children were thrilled to meet Kid and Sid Kidney in the small intestine room. From there, they went to the heart.
Drink 8 glasses of water a day.
The heart room is not normally THE student favorite, but that was not the case this time around. When the students saw the Red Queen, they got so excited! They wanted to hear everything she had to tell them. The Red Queen is the queen of hearts and her goal was for them all to have a healthy heart for all of their lives. The students learned about eating fruits, veggies, and lean meat. They learned they should avoid friend food, or food full of butter or oil.
The Queen of Hearts (and her Ladies in Waiting) want everyone to have a healthy heart!
The lung room focuses on a different healthy behavior and that’s not smoking or using smokeless tobacco. There’s not a strong emphasis on diet in this room. The presenters did a great job showing the lung models, a healthy pink lung and a diseased black lung. They led the students in breathing through a straw to simulate emphysema. They talked about how important healthy lungs are to sports and regular play. The presenters had unflagging energy for promoting pink lungs.
Black lungs are sad lungs
In the bone room, they students got to put together a bone puzzle, ‘meet’ Calci M. Bone, and learn why the volunteers were dressed as construction workers. Strong bones build strong bodies of course!
Strong bones are the foundation of a strong healthy body
The numbers of muscles in the body is just one thing the elementary tourists learned in their travels through the body. In the muscle room, they learned how without muscles, they wouldn’t be able to move. The men in this room showed them models so they would know what fat versus muscle looks like and feels like. They talked about what foods build strong muscles and what foods, or non-foods (sugar, oil) build fat.
636 muscles in the body
In the last room of the tour, the students learned about proper handwashing and how easy it is to spread germs. The nursing students told them how important sunscreen is, no matter your age, and how wearing a hat is always a good idea. Most of the children didn’t even realize that skin is an organ of the body. After listening to the presenters, they now know it is the biggest organ of the body.
Wear a hat in the sun, and wash your hands often.
After going through all the rooms, the students reviewed everything they learned in the Pathway of Life. From here, they went back to their classroom to put their shoes back on. Each student got a sticker after their trip and a Body Walk activity book with lessons that reinforced everything they learned in the exhibit.
Overall, the students came out knowing much more than when they went in. They had so much fun learning, most of them didn’t even realize they had learned something. Not only the students learned though. Many parent volunteers went through with their child’s class and they were overheard to express something they learned from the Body Walk. Great volunteers make a great program. This trip to First Presbyterian was great.
Next up, Lawrence County.