Today was Health & Fitness Day at Westlake. Each class came up with a different presentation to show their schoolmates. The creativity and excitement that occurred throughout our halls were incredible.
In the First grade classroom, they demonstrated the digestive system with the help of Lauri Hogenkamp, RN and staff nurse of 23 years, former parent, and former Westlake Board Member. The first graders explained what each part of your body does as the digestive system works and then Mrs. Hogenkamp demonstrated the actual process with food, a blender, and a cheesecloth-like-sock that represented the small and large intestines. You can watch a video of that demonstration here.
Second grade demonstrated the circulatory system, again with the help of Mrs. Hogenkamp. They had two large cow hearts on display that students could not only see but touch. Then they had stethoscopes available to hear each other’s heartbeat.
In the Third grade, each student had a presentation on a different athletic or Olympic sport and the benefits of staying active. They had presentation boards set up all around the perimeter of their classroom and walked the upperclassmen through each sport.
Fourth grade taught us all about the eyes. Again the students set up presentation boards around the perimeter of their classroom and had different aspects of the eye explained. One of the groups talked about depth perception. They had students cover one eye, take a few steps back, and then try to drop a penny in a cup – almost all failed! When they were able to open both eyes and then drop the coin they had success.
Fifth grade presented Toxic Technology – how screen time affects our brains and our bodies adversely. The students were in groups and presented on different aspects of technology and its effects on us – how temptation can be greater because of the quick access to images, how our brains react to screen time, and how it can affect our sleep patterns as well.
Sixth grade talked all about heart rate and what can affect it – whether that’s stress, diet, family history, or a myriad of other things. They then had the visiting class take a resting heart rate, measure their heart rate when moving only their legs, and measure their heart rate after doing jumping jacks as an exercise to really realize what affects your heart rate.
Our 7th grade had two presentations ready for their visiting class: for the upperclassmen, they discussed vaping and for the younger students they talked about healthy eating and hygiene. When they talked with the older students about vaping they explained it like this: it’s still addictive and harmful, it will have damaging effects on your body, and it’s a cheap thrill that can be replaced with more satisfying activities. It may seem like a cool thing to do at first because of all of the peer pressure surrounding it, but it’s really altogehter dangerous. Then with the younger students, they brought in different snacks and polled the students as to whether they were healthful or junk food. They also used a skull from the science room and demonstrated how to brush and floss teeth appropriately.
Our 8th graders demonstrated our immune system and it’s response to different fungus, viruses, and bacteria. Students climbed through the “nasal passages” of the body and were immediately attacked by the body’s immune system with either water spray (sneezing) or dart guns (Cytotoxins released by the killer T cell to destroy a specific pathogen). Students were able to look through the microscope and see what bacteria and viruses really look like at the microscopic level.
Our 9th grade created a box maze of the digestive system that our students could crawl through – similar to first grade’s demonstration – but they were the food! As they crawled through the maze our 9th graders explained what each section of the digestive system does.
Our 10th grade explained the benefits of sleep, what an appropriate sleep cycle looks like, and what happens when you’re sleep deprived.
Our 11th grade demonstrated the benefits of stretching out our muscular system.
While the 12th grade had different presentations on current diets and even some food you could sample for each diet.
This day was full of fun and frenzy as students fluttered between classrooms for a new demonstration in each. We could not have completed this day without the gracious oversight of our Health & Fitness committee: Mr. Kurt Flemming, Ms. Stephanie Betori, and Mrs. Chelsea Schopper. Not to mention all of our amazingly creative teachers and the parent volunteers who came in to help the day run smoothly.
Westlake may not be the largest school in Lake County, but I believe we give our students invaluable opportunities throughout the year to be hands-on with their learning in ways that make us feel like a big school. I mean, where else can you go and examine a cow heart, climb through the digestive system, and get pelted with dart guns to demonstrate how our bodies fight infection? A pretty cool school, that’s where.
*To see pictures from our day visit this Facebook Photo Album.