Mississippi BodyWalk Blog

being smart from the inside out

Body Walk in Southaven MS October 29, 2012

Last stop in October for Body Walk was to Greenbrook Elementary home of the Chargers.

Body Walk in the gym, home of the Greenbrook Chargers. Knights who fight with KNOWLEDGE and conquer the dark age of unknowing.

Here Jessica Lindsey booked BW for her county. I always like coming to Desoto because Jessica and Amye Zwerschke always have everything so organized. For example, being an extension program, I collect some demographic data on the children who go through the exhibit. Jessica had all the data collected before I even arrived! I was impressed.

We worked closely with Shelly McLaughlin. She is the gym teacher for Greenbrook. She made sure the teachers came down on time and helped us keep on schedule. She had the cutest thing ever in her window. The Veggie Friends! The Veggie Friends are plush fruits and vegetables and are about the same size as the plush OrganWise Guys. It was only natural that the Veggie Friends would want to check out the Body Walk and that the two groups should hang out.

Three of the Veggie Friends sat on a tooth in the Mouth Station.

Mr. Onion was thrilled to see the Body Walk. His wispy hair vibrated with excitement.

Despite his sour expression, Mr. Lemon was excited to meet the OrganWise Guys.

Peri Stolic and Sir Rebrum hung out with all their new pals. The veggies were fascinated with tales of villi and neurons.

Madam Muscle and Hardy Heart visited with their new pals. Mr. Orange had some ‘bright’ stories to share.

Nursing students from Northwest in Senatobia were our station presenters. They did a great job. Nursing students are always great volunteers. They bring a lot of excitement and fired up delivery to the scripts. Thursday’s volunteer in the muscle station was particularly good. I stopped by and listened to her presentation several times. She had an exciting way of talking about muscles and she really involved each group in understanding how their muscles let them move.

Nursing students from Northwest in Senatobia MS

Nursing students from the last day. These students taught and helped take down the exhibit.

While I was there, the school was having its Red Ribbon Week of staying away from drugs. Each day had a theme. The BEST day was crazy hair day, and this little girl had the best hair.

Half green, half pink and standing up 12 inches from her head.

Body Walk isn’t going to fix childhood health all on its own. The program is one part of a much larger effort to improve kid’s health, nutrition, and exercise. In Desoto county, they have implemented changes in their cafeteria. Ms. McLaughlin shared a flyer with me that had gone out to all the parents at the beginning of the year. The goal is to have the kids eat more fruits and vegetables. They have only skim milk in the cafeteria, whole grain bread and rolls, and dark greens in the salads. If a child wants an extra fruit or vegetable for lunch from the available options, they can have it, and they are not charged extra.

Flyer explaining the meal changes in Desoto county schools.

I love this because it is right in line with what the children learn inside the Body Walk. Eat whole grains, eat more fruit and vegetables, drink milk or water, avoid high sugar drinks. Repetition of the message will help the message stick with the children.

Now, if we can just get them to not pig out on the Halloween candy….
Next up, Vicksburg.


Body Walk in Houston MS

Body Walk usually sets up in a gym. These range from the very new, to the very old. Some gyms are plain and some have great murals. The gym at Houston Upper Elementary School is in the latter category. This trip was scheduled by Scott Cagel for Chickasaw county.  We saw the 3rd and 4th grade. Allied health students and girls in the local Anchor club served as station presenters. The students did a great job as station presenters. Everyone got into the spirit of teaching the lessons. They had great enthusiasm and worked well with each group.  The kids loved brushing the big teeth in the mouth station. They loved looking at the plasma light in the brain station. In the heart, they were thrilled to do 10 jumping jacks to feel how much their heart rate went up. In the lungs, they were very grossed out by seeing the black lung, and after they tried breathing through a straw while holding their nose, well, no one wanted to take up smoking as a hobby. 😉

They finished their tour in the pathway of life, a series of banners where they reviewed everything they just heard. The teachers received a stack of activity books for each student. They can use these books in the classroom as a supplement to planned health lessons. By going through the exhibit, having the review, and using the activity books, each student is exposed to the information three times. This repetition helps cement the lessons into their minds.

Anchor Club

Allied Health. Can you guess who worked in the muscle station?

The murals were fun to look at and each had a good message.

The third and fourth grade loved the Body Walk. They enjoyed the high school students teaching them. The third grade took a quiz when they finished, to see what they had learned inside the Body Walk. While they got most of the health messages, none of them learned to walk while in socks. After the quiz, they all wanted to run across the gym to put their shoes on. Running is great, just make sure to do it while shod. 🙂

Next up, Southaven.


Body Walk in Holly Springs Mississippi October 22, 2012

Allied Health students. They served as Body Walk station presenters, coloring monitors, exercise leaders, story readers, and shoe wranglers.

The trip to Holly Springs was a great one this year. We had more Allied Health students than in any past year. We had enough to cover all the rooms in the Body Walk and have students to man extra stations. In this county, instead of seeing all the kids at one school, we see all the fourth grade from all the schools. The children are bussed to the multipurpose building. This way, over time all the students get the important health and nutrition messages of the Body Walk exhibit. Since the children are bussed to the building, they have extra wait time. So, to fill the wait time, Janet Jolly and Lemon Phelps, with help from Micheal Pruitt arranged for there to be extra stops for the groups to visit.

The classes started off in the video room, here they watched an Organwise guys video. From here, one group at a time would come out and take their shoes off. Allied Health students had them line up the shoes. The high schoolers then put a sign on the shoes so it was easy to see which line belonged to which kids.

Three of the Organwise guys tell the 4th grade students how to keep their organs healthy.

After the fourth graders finished the BW tour, they stopped at the anti-tobacco table. Here they got a good lesson on not smoking or using smokeless tobacco. They also got a pencil and sticker. Unfortunately, every pic of the kids listening at this table came out to blurry to share. It was a great stop though.

After that, the students put their shoes back on. Next up was exercise! Students led the kids in stretching then very easy dancing. Cha-cha-cha!

Allied Health students lead the children in five minutes of exercise. Every minute counts!

Next up was the coloring station. The kids had several coloring sheets to choose from. Each one reinforced a health message. One sheet asked the kids to find the high fiber foods. One was a word search. One had a picture of the MyPlate logo.

The children got to color before or after they toured the Body Walk. Teachers and Allied Health students look on, ready to answer questions or provide different crayons.

One of the coloring sheets.

One other station some of the children got to enjoy was the story station. Here they heard a story and then answered comprehension questions. The Allied Health students read the story and asked the questions. The kids most often heard the middle book, Oliver’s Vegetables.

Three of the book choices for the reading time.

What about BW? The kids loved it. They thought the plasma light in the Brain station was extra cool. The loved sitting on the teeth stools in the mouth station. They learned a lot in the lung station because when they got to the anti-smoking table, they knew what happened to lungs if a person smokes, and why it’s bad to even be around a smoker. They loved all the food models in the stomach, and they loved doing the ‘digestion’ dance. Several could not believe colas are so bad for health. Colas leech calcium from bones and most are FULL of sugar. The students liked learning what foods are good for them. They really enjoyed having the high schoolers teach them.

Next up, Houston MS.


Body Walk in McComb MS October 15, 2012

Next stop for the Body Walk exhibit was in McComb MS in Pike county. Here, LaToya Evans booked BW for her county. We saw 2nd-5th grade. Here, we had great help from beginning to end. To start, all the maintenance men were asked to help with the set up. This was a surprise to them, but being professionals, they rolled with it. Close to the end of set-up, as we were fastening all the little Velcro tabs of the grey matter, I said, ‘Ya’ll didn’t know you were going to get to have this much fun today, huh?” One of the men answered, “No, but I’m having an exhilarating time.” I got so tickled, I had to just sit down and laugh until I recovered.

brain station

Head frame almost complete. Next step is the grey matter which goes inside the frame and stays in place with many, many Velcro attachments. (picture from different county)

We had great help both days that we saw the kids. Nursing students from two local colleges served as presenters in the rooms. On the first day, the maintenance men came back. I had told them to come by when the exhibit was in full swing so they could see the purpose of what they had put so much work into putting together. I have made this offer in the past, but rarely does anyone come by. These men came by and they took the WHOLE tour of the exhibit. I had the chance to explain each station, and what the children are supposed to learn from the activity in each room. It was great to have that connection between seeing it assembled, but silent and empty, to seeing it full and noisy.

Nursing students after a great day of teaching ‘how to be smart from the inside out.’

Nursing students from the second day.

The kids had a great time. From walking in and seeing Hardy Heart say ‘Hi, Kids’ to Sir Rebrum, from Windy Lungs to Madame Muscle; they learned and interacted and hopefully absorbed messages that will stick with them. Healthy kids grow into healthy adults. These are 800+ kids who got the chance to learn ‘be smart from the inside out.’

Next stop, Holly Springs.



Body Walk in Grenada Mississippi

In Grenada, I set up at Grenada Upper Elementary School. This trip was booked by Jan Walton, 4-H agent for her county. On hand all week was Felicia Hughes, local FNP (Family Nutrition Program) agent for Grenada county. We saw just over 900 3rd-5th grade. Helping with set up and take down, as well as being volunteers all week, were students from the P.N. program at Holmes Community College. They were great help. They had just as much enthusiasm on the last day as they did the first. Larry Webster, the Career Tech Director of the college came by to see his students in action. Janice Avery, P.N. Director of the program was on-hand daily to encourage and monitor her students. Melody Shaw, Science teacher, set up the schedule for the classes to come through. Grenada has a lot of ‘set in stone’ times that the schedule had to work around. Melody did a great job setting up the schedule and then making sure we all stayed on schedule. All these people worked great together making Body Walk a wonderful experience for the students, and a smooth experience for all the adults.

Melody talking to waiting groups, explaining the awesome they are about to see. Hardy Heart greeted them when they came in the door.

Being in one location for a week gives me and the volunteers time to recall all the funny things the students say as they go through the Body Walk. Here are some of the more memorable things we heard.

“I thought the villi were teeth or icicles.”

A student asked the male nursing student, “Are you John Cena?” (the professional wrestler)

A fifth grader knew another good use for the stress balls used in the muscle station, “These are for people with physiological problems!”

A volunteer in the mouth asked, “What are you pulling out when you floss?” A third grade student, “The NASTY DEAD food.”

Having the same volunteers all day for a week requires a lot of coordination and support from the community. Here are pictures of some of the posters thanking the community for that help.

The students liked every room. They enjoyed traveling through the body, learning how to ‘be smart from the inside out.’ They learned how to be healthy by eating foods in the right portion, and foods that are good for them. In the Stomach Station, they saw the MyPlate logo, and got to match their Food Bookmark to the proper section of the plate. The bookmark tells them the food they are as they travel. Each child is a food, and a specific nutrient, traveling through the body. In addition to smart food choices and food portions, they learn about physical activity. In the Heart and Muscle stations especially, they learn why it is so important to be active. To keep your heart and muscles healthy of course! Muscles need to be worked, to be used; through playing sports, or running or biking, or swimming.

Once finished with the tour, each student received an activity book and a sticker. The third graders had to take a quiz when they were done. It is a short, one question quiz of multiple choice answers. This helps me to measure how much they learned. From a quick glance as I collected the quizzes from each group, they learned a lot as they traveled.

Next up, McComb.


Body Walk in Pontotoc Mississippi October 11, 2012

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Body Walk went to Pontotoc mid-September. Here, Sherry Thompson booked BW for her county. We saw 3rd and 4th grade students from South Pontotoc, North Pontotoc, D.T.Cox, and a few home schooled students.

Allied Health students were our volunteers both days.

The students loved starting their tour in the ‘igloo’ shaped head. They learned why breakfast is so important and why they need to take care of their brain. A healthy brain leads to a healthy body that makes good decisions.


Sir Rebrum welcomes students to the the Brain Station, first stop of the Body Walk.

Next up was the Mouth, quickly followed by the Stomach, Small Intestine, Heart, Lungs, Bones, Muscle, and Skin stations. When the students got to the Path of Life, the review at the end of the tour, they were full of new knowledge about how to be healthy. When asked, they were able to give lots of ways to live a healthy life.


Pathway of Life, review at the end of the Body Walk exhibit.


Next up, Grenada.