Third graders experience a walk through the body

From staff reports

A colorful, interactive human body exhibit is part of an effort to change nutrition and health decisions Mississippi’s children are making and provide valuable information about the human body.

Body Walk is a fun-filled exhibit of the human body with 10 interactive learning stations. Each station teaches children to make healthy choices for their mind and body while giving students a deeper understanding of the science involved in the human body.

Third graders from Louisville, Nanih Waiya, Noxapater and Grace Christian enjoyed a Wednesday learning session of about an hour touring the Body walk, which is a free exhibit.

The Mississippi State University Extension Service, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation, the Mississippi Rural Health Corps, the Office of the Attorney General, Partnership for a Healthy Mississippi and the 4-H sponsor the traveling exhibit.

“This allows students to explore the human body from a new perspective and see the inner workings of the body in a different way,” said Crystal Blair of the Winston County MSU Extension office who helped arrange for the exhibit to come to Winston County.

“This is another way for us to reach out to children and teach them to take care of their body,” said Blair. “It is fun, active-learning. A hands on way to learn about good health and the human body.”

The learning stations focus on the brain, mouth, stomach, heart, lungs, bones, muscles, skin and the “Pathway for Life” station, which recaps lessons learned in the Body Walk. A cast of characters known as The OrganWise Guys helps teach the basics of human physiology and how the body responds to different foods and lifestyles. They feature 10 characters such as Hardy Heart; Windy, the lungs; and the Kidney Brothers. The exhibit is a 40 foot by 40 foot enclosed walkthrough with different areas representing the different areas of the human body.

“There is a lot involved in this display, but almost 90 percent of the work is done at the schools before the exhibit arrives,” Blair said. “In addition to the county Extension staff, the school enlists volunteers in this case students from two programs at the Winston-Louisville Career and Technology Center helped set up and provided the information to the third graders. Eleven students from the Health Sciences taught by Penny Wells and 6 students from Teacher Academy taught by Helen Black were on hand to as volunteers and trainers. The WLCTC Health Science program aims to train future health care providers while Teacher Academy aims to train future teachers.

The 17 WLCTC students helped setup the display and area and also acted as presenters at each station to teach brief lessons about that part of the body and its functions.

Penny Wells, WLCTC Health Science teacher, worked with the extension office and Helen Black to lineup students for the presentation.

“We were able to have our students learn the parts and provide the information to third graders,” Wells said. “Our students got experience making presentations and the presentation reinforced the health facts they have learned. The elementary students probably were more receptive to the information because it was coming from a student who was not that much older and they can identify better with. Everyone enjoyed the experience.”

The children in addition to the information also received souvenirs, such as stickers, pencils and bookmarks. The goal for the exhibit is to reach 30,000 children annually from kindergarten ages through fifth grade.

For more information on the Body Walk, contact Winston County MSU Extension office.

“Body Walk is a great service-learning opportunity for our Health Science student volunteers because it expanded their own knowledge on the subject as they taught the younger children,” Wells, who is also a nurse, said. “It is a great teaching tool for the third graders because it gets them focused on the importance of maintaining a health mind and body.”

Anna Richardson of the  WLCTC Health Science program discusses the function of the heart with third graders.

Anna Richardson of the WLCTC Health Science program discusses the function of the heart with third graders.

Jordan Sellers talks about what it takes to run the human body.

Jordan Sellers talks about what it takes to run the human body.