STORY AND PHOTOS BY KATY WALTERS
On September 24 and 25th, the Fort Hays State University Health and Human Performance Department sponsored a learning experience for Kindergarten through 5th graders called Body Venture. The program consisted of a 45-foot by 50-foot walk-through diagram of the human body. Within the structure were 11 stations at which students learned about healthy eating and physical activity. The coordinator for this event at FHSU was Dr. Steven Sedbrook.
“From anywhere between 700-800 students each year attend Body Venture on campus,” said Dr. Sedbrook.
He also noted that Body Venture has been coming to campus for about 16 years off and on. Not only do the young students benefit from the experience, but Fort Hays students from all across campus volunteered including majors in Health and Human Performance and Education, freshman seminar classes, the HHP club, and Phi Epsilon Kappa.
These students helped set-up, take-down, teach, and guide the children from station to station. Tracy Archer, a 2nd Grade teacher at Wilson Elementary School, talked of the benefit she believes Body Venture has on her students.
“It teaches about balancing eating and activity, taking care of their bodies, dental health, and ties into our science and health section,” said Archer.
Body Venture is a child health initiative sponsored by Child Nutrition and Wellness, which is a part of the Kansas State Department of Education. Meg Boggs, Body Venture Coordinator for the State of Kansas, explained that the children learn all kinds of things through the experience including the functionality of the body, healthy eating habits, and physical activity.
“We visit 3 schools each week,” said Boggs.
At the beginning of the experience, each student is assigned a food, and throughout the diagram, he or she learned of the benefit their food has on the body. The first is the Lunchroom in which food is ingested. By studying My Plate, the children learned how important it was to eat a variety of healthy, hearty foods.
The next section was the brain dome where topics such as brain waves were covered. Once they learned of brain functions, they stepped into the huge mouth to discover proper brushing habits. Next, the students were “swallowed” through the esophagus, and landed in the stomach. After learning of the importance of the stomach, they were digested through the intestines and sent to the bloodstream.
While in the blood, the children traveled to the heart, lungs, bones, muscles, and skin. They learned how each of their assigned foods benefited the body. In order to exit the body, they slipped through a cut in the “skin”.
By going through the Body Venture, children learned some of the vital facts about diet and exercise. The students of Fort Hays State University were able to partake in this important experience as well; therefore, both parties benefited immensely. Body Venture is held at FHSU in the fall, and then the Kansas Kids Fitness Day is in the spring. All year round, students are learning to teach by using hands-on activities and receive a priceless education all at the same time.