State’s ‘Body Walk’ display visits Starside
Indifferent to the threat of being swallowed, about 10 students from Starside Elementary School sat on teeth Friday, using a rope as dental floss.
"You have to keep your teeth clean every day," parent volunteer Anne Cahoone said. "When you get older, somebody might ask you to use tobacco or have a smoke. Don't forget what can happen to your teeth when you smoke."
Cahoone showed the children a model of teeth ruined by years of decay from tobacco use.
Students spent Friday going through the Kansas Department of Education's "Body Walk," a large-scale model of the human digestive system. The model has toured schools throughout Kansas for four years.
The Starside PTA sponsored the event and had volunteers work at each station. Not only does Body Walk teach students about nutrition, but parents are also reminded of nutrition as they teach the students.
Kathy Childress, program consultant with the KDHE, said there were 11 stations run by volunteers to teach the students about nutrition.
"We always know they're going to like it," she said. "Our hope is that they use what they learn in how much they eat and how much physical activity they get."
Students went through models of a large brain. Then, they entered the mouth and visited the stomach, small intestine, heart, lungs, muscles, skin and bones. Students exited the body through the "Pathway to Life," which gives them examples on incorporating all elements of the body into a healthy lifestyle.
Serena Stutzman crouched in the 4-foot-high small intestine, ducking the paper strips representing the villi that help the body absorb nutrients.
"How much water do you drink every day?" she asked the students. "Water is very important for staying hydrated. You've got to drink eight glasses a day. That's the same as a two-liter bottle of soda, but you can't replace it with soda or juice."
Stutzman also talked to students about eating a high-fiber diet and getting enough fruits and vegetables.
Students walked through different rooms in the Body Walk exhibit, all decorated to look like the inside of various organs.
Doreen Zahner, another parent volunteer, told students the importance of calcium in building strong bones.
"You need three milk products a day," she said. "Feel your ears and the tip of your nose. That's what your body would feel like without bones."
Students looked at germs on their hands with a black light and learned about the importance of hand washing and also learned about fatty foods.
Angela Steele, a fifth-grader in Amy Grant's class, said she learned about what it feels like to have emphysema and breathe as a smoker."We breathed through straws, and it was hard," she said. "It wouldn't be fun to be sick."