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Students experience life inside the body
Eat smart. Play hard.
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Hoisington High School sophomore Angtjelica Pfannenstiel taught a learning station about the lungs. She showed the children examples of a smokers lungs. - photo by KAREN LA PIERRE

HOISINGTON — Travelling through a larger than life-sized tent display of a human, Hoisington Elementary School students had the opportunity Tuesday to learn about the importance of "Eat smart. Play hard," — how exercise and nutrition affect life.

Volunteers from science classes at Hoisington High School presented the lesson at each station, held in the Hoisington Middle School gym. The Body Venture began in the "Lunchroom" where students learned to eat smart with whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and to be physically active every day.

They then moved to the brain station to learn about how nutrition affects the function of the brain. A light flashed showing how the nerves transmit signals.

Sitting on teeth-shaped chairs, the student acquired knowledge about the importance of brushing and flossing and even got a chance to practice flossing with a rope. Once again, they were taught about eating smart. They saw the tonsils and the salivary glands, and learned how the tongue tastes food.

Continuing on the journey, the students learned about the heart, digestive tract, bones, muscles and skin. They saw the function of each organ and how nutrients feed the body.

At the lung learning station, the children not only learned about the function of the lungs, but also the effects of smoking. They blew through a small straw as a sample of lung damage due to smoke, and were encouraged to play hard for strong lungs.

A sophomore from HHS, Zachary Younger, was at the last station, which was a review of the morning. "It’s fun," he said. Younger also learned some things about the body and nutrition, as well as enjoying getting out of his classes.

The Venture ended with water and fruit for snacks.

The Body Venture display is from the Child, Nutrition and Wellness Division of the Department of Education in Topeka. They travel the state, presenting the lesson to approximately 100 public or parochial schools per year, regardless of size.

"The whole purpose is to try to make children aware they must eat correctly and get proper nutrition and exercise," said Katy Hunter, Body Venture manager. "It makes for a healthy body."

The exhibit has been travelling the state for about 10 years, and is primarily staffed by volunteers who set up and tear down the exhibit. HMS students served the snacks.

"I think the kids are really having a good time," said HMS Principal Pat Reinhardt. "The high school students are taking on a leadership role.

"The little kids come out excited," and learned a lot, she said.