A new way to learn about the importance of good nutrition and physical fitness came to Peabody Elementary School on Sept. 11. Students were given the opportunity to explore the human body with Power Panther, the USDA Food and Nutrition Service mascot, as their guide.
The tour began when students, in groups of up to 10, entered the simulated school lunchroom, taking roles of food such as a carrot, low-fat milk, or a piece of chicken.
In the second station, they walked through a giant ear into the brain. Inside the huge brain dome, students experienced “brain waves” and learned about brain function. The “foods” stepped into the exhibit’s larger-than-life mouth, and were “swallowed” through the esophagus tunnel and moved into the stomach dome.
From the stomach, the students traveled through the small intestine, where they were “absorbed” into the blood. Then, they followed the path of the nutrients to the heart, lungs, bones, muscles, and skin stations.
Students left the body through a cut in the skin and proceeded through Power Panther’s Pathway to Life. This final station recapped key health concepts from each of the ten previous stations. Throughout the exhibit, students learned how to apply Power Panther’s slogan, “eat smart, play hard.” At each of Body Venture’s 11 stations, a high school student volunteer presenter engaged the students in a five-minute activity focused on healthy choices.
The traveling Body Venture exhibit was developed and is operated by Child Nutrition & Wellness, Kansas State Department of Education.
“What’s great is that the kids are actively involved in learning about good nutrition and making healthy lifestyle choices,” said Kathy Preheim, school district wellness committee chairperson. “This has been a team effort. We appreciate the support of our school volunteers and parents who assisted with the exhibit and made Body Venture possible.”