Pocopson Elementary students learn about heart health

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‘Healthy Heart Day’ offers students hands on learning while having hun

By Suzanne Misciagna, Staff Writer, The Times

heart anatomy

Pocopson’s Physical Education and Health teacher, Allison Tester, teaches students how blood flows through the heart at Pocopson’s Healthy Heart Day.

POCOPSON – Students at Pocopson Elementary School in the Unionville-Chadds Ford School district literally learned about matters of the heart this Valentine’s Day. It was all part of the school’s annual Healthy Heart Day – a hands-on fair for third through fifth grade students focusing on heart health, nutrition, exercising, and living a healthy lifestyle.

On a day when kids and adults alike feast on candy and other sweet treats, students at Pocopson Elementary learned what it takes to keep your heart healthy and your body healthy too.

Groups of students filled the school’s gymnasium and lined the school hallways as they participated in various stations testing their knowledge of heart health.

Pocopson Elementary students get some exercise while learning kickboxing.

Following a short video on how blood flows through the heart, students were led to the Anatomy Station.  There they found an obstacle course, which involved crawling through tunnels, racing down the gym on scooters, and walking on a balance beam – all designed to mimic the passageway of blood flowing through the heart.

“I liked learning about how the heart works,” says third grader Emma Martin. “It was fun to crawl through the tunnels too.”

Students also learned about the importance of exercise in keeping your heart healthy. A representative from the Kennett Area YMCA was on hand encouraging students to get some aerobic activity each day. Students’ heart rates rose as they participated in a fun kickboxing lesson.

After exercising, each child learned how to use a stethoscope to listen to their heartbeat. They learned how to calculate their resting heart rate and their target heart rate too.

Third grader, Emma Martin, races through the obstacle course showing how blood flows from the heart to the body.

“Your heart is always pumping,” notes third grader RaeAnn Dowling. “But, when you exercise, it pumps faster.”

No healthy heart fair would be complete without a focus on proper nutrition.  Students watched a short video called “The Fat Brothers” and learned how high fat foods clog arteries in the heart. After, students mimicked a blood cell by crawling through two arteries – one that was clear and healthy – and one that was clogged with years of damage. After the obstacle course, students identified high and low fat foods and learned how to make healthy food choices.

One station that generated a lot of interest was the Smoking Cessation exhibit. Students saw first-hand how smoking cigarettes or chewing tobacco can cause damage to your whole body, affecting your heart as well as your lungs and your mouth too.

“Smoking isn’t good for you,” says third grader Bella Burch. “It hurts your lungs and you can die from it too,” says Burch after closely examining two specimens of a pig’s lungs showing the before and after effects of smoking.

The ‘jar of tar’ was another great visual to show students the amount of tar that a half a pack a day smoker inhales into their lungs in one year.