Mississippi BodyWalk Blog

being smart from the inside out

Body Walk in Scott County, Forest Elementary March 8, 2013

Next up in February for Body Walk was Forest Elementary. This was my second time to set up all the new stuff (and I won’t count every time), and it went well. It is such a joy to see all the new items assembled. The exhibit as a whole just looks very nice in the different gyms. For this school, Carol Ballard booked the school. Cindy Adkins, school nurse, was Carol’s contact at this school. Cindy did a great job securing volunteers and planning the schedule.

Bearcats

Bearcats

Our volunteers were Allied Health students. They did a great job presenting the material to the Kindergarten, First, and Second grade students who toured the exhibit. The kids had a great time learning how to keep their brain, mouth, stomach, small intestine, heart, lungs, bones, muscles, and skin healthy. They liked having the high school students teach them and show them all the cool and interesting props that are unique to each room.

As always, the plasma light in the brain was an immediate attention grabber. The light simulates the speed of neurons firing in our brain. Without proper nutrition, those neurons don’t work like they are supposed to. A good breakfast with foods from all sections of MyPlate is a great way to start the day.

Thoughts are electrical signals in the brain.

Thoughts are electrical signals in the brain.

After we eat, it is important to brush our teeth. Healthy teeth let us eat all those healthy crunch foods.

A healthy mouth is important to overall good health.

A healthy mouth is important to overall good health.

Everyone should fill half their plate with fruits and vegetables.

MyPlate shows how much of each food group to have on your plate

MyPlate shows how much of each food group to have on your plate

 

Smoking is always a bad idea.

Windy says keep your lungs pink, don't smoke.

Windy says keep your lungs pink, don’t smoke.

Once the kids finished their tour, their teacher was given a stack of activity books, one for each student. These reinforce everything the students learned in their trip through the body.

An activity book and sticker.

An activity book and sticker.

Next up, Stone county.

 

 

 

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Body Walk in Pike, North Pike Elementary

In February, Body Walk traveled to North Pike Elementary. If you read my last post, you know that I got several new items for the exhibit. This set up was the very first with the new stuff. All the volunteers did a great job. I used the instruction sheet to make sure we went step by step and everything turned out great.

The trickiest items were the new brain dome and the mouth entrance. The way these go together is COMPLETELY different from the old ones. They look nicer and are much more sturdy. Eventually, I’ll have it memorized, but for now, I follow the instructions and double-check all steps.

New brain dome perfectly set up.

New brain dome perfectly set up.

Mouth entrance, looking fantastic and ready for students.

Mouth entrance, looking fantastic and ready for students.

Sponsors

Sponsors

The next day, Southwest Community College Nursing students were the station presenters. Nursing students are great volunteers. They usually have lots of energy and can answer most questions the kids may have beyond what is printed in the script.

We saw second and third grade here. Latoya Evans booked this school for her county. Each school has something cute that makes it special and this school was no exception. On the way to the gym, cute caterpillars show the way.

Number catepillar

Number caterpillar

Letter caterpillar

Letter caterpillar

This was a great trip.

Next up, Scott county.

 

Body Walk UPGRADED

Last post I promised you a BIG surprise.

Body Walk has been UPGRADED with NEW parts. This has been a long time coming. Last summer, I started the process of applying for a grant to get money to upgrade the Body Walk exhibit. All that hard work paid off and now the exhibit is much improved.  Body Walk has a new brain dome, new pop-up tents, new esophagus, new totes, new teeth bags, a new entrance for the mouth station, and two new bags.

The exhibit started traveling in 2005. Since then, minor things have been periodically upgraded such as food props, scripts and flip charts, and the back wall to the stomach when the USDA changed the food logo from MyPyramid to MyPlate. No major structural components had been upgraded. All the tents, frames and totes were the same. The exhibit travels nine months a year, being set up and taken down on average five times a month. Things eventually wear out.

Thus, new stuff! First up, the new brain dome. Our old one was an aluminum frame. Over time, all the buttons had stopped working as a way of holding the poles together. The structure was not as stable as it could be. The inside fabric was nylon, and the outside fabric was a heavy, non-breathable vinyl. The new brain dome has a super-steady frame of hollow aluminum poles. The fabric is not vinyl. It is lightweight, breathable, and machine washable! The outside and inside fabrics zip together so that the frame is completely hidden, adding to the illusion the students have entered a giant body for their trip.  The new fabric is very easy to work with and the inside graphics are fantastically done.

New brain dome and Sir Rebrum

New brain dome and Sir Rebrum

Frame and Grey matter

Frame and Grey matter from the outside.

Grey matter from the inside.

Grey matter from the inside.

The majority of the exhibit is made from pop-up tents. Each tent is a station. The tents are covered in printed vinyl walls and strapped together to form the ‘body’ the students travel through. The old tents were difficult to set up as they were missing screws, or parts had broken off, or in one case, were finally being held together with duct tape. No more. The new tents all go up smoothly. They are a breeze to set up and take down, with almost no effort. They are all true in shape, giving the exhibit a beautiful symmetry.

The exhibit seen from above.

The exhibit seen from above.

One of the critical parts of the exhibit is the esophagus. This is a metal frame with a fabric lining that sits between the mouth and stomach. Just as your real esophagus is the tunnel food takes in your body, our fake esophagus is the tunnel our nutrients (students) take from one station to the next.  The new one is very easy to put together and it looks great.

Tunnel between stations.

Tunnel between stations.

One of the most often photographed parts of the Body Walk is the entrance to the mouth. This is the part that is very colorful, has the name of the exhibit right on it, and is the part most easily recognized. The old entrance was made of three large aluminum pieces that were covered with a vinyl front that was attached with hook and loop tape. The new one is a very sturdy aluminum frame of many pieces that quickly join together. The whole thing is then encased in a fabric panel that zips shut. As with the brain, the frame is hidden, adding to the beauty and clean look of the exhibit. Wonderfully, this fabric is also machine washable.

The new entrance with the props for the mouth station.

The new entrance with the props for the mouth station.

New entrance with the tongue and teeth stools. Through the mouth, the stomach is visible.

New entrance with the tongue and teeth stools. Through the mouth, the stomach is visible.

This upgrade also included all new bags for the teeth stools and new totes to house all the scripts and props.

Teeth bags!

Teeth bags!

Fresh new blue totes to replace the old grey ones.

Fresh new blue totes to replace the old grey ones.

You may be wondering what happened to all the old stuff? It was recycled. There is a great recycling center in Starkville, home to Mississippi State University and the Body Walk. They were happy to give new life to the aluminum, canvas and plastic.

Pile of old frames from the brain, esophagus, and mouth entrance.

Pile of old frames from the brain, esophagus, and mouth entrance.

Frames loaded and headed to recycling center.

Frames loaded and headed to recycling center.

The new exhibit has been to three counties so far. The students are thrilled to come in to their gym and see the exhibit waiting on them. I have heard several gasp in surprise and delight as they make their way into the brain station. They love how realistic (but not gross) it looks. I love how well everything is traveling, and how easy it is to use. I am thrilled with the improvements.

Next up, Body Walk on the road again.