Poke around at a real heart all in the name... staying healthy Boone Today

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Boone Today
02/04/06
Poke around at a real heart all in the name of
staying healthy
By:CORY FROLIK
As part of 4-H Youth Development's campaign to teach healthy lifestyle choices,
certain Boone County youths will be afforded a chance to learn about the
complex "machine" that is the human body at a seminar offered at three
locations.
Running at various times February through April in Ogden, Madrid and Boone,
the program, "Amazing Human Machine," employs a hands-on approach to
education.
"We want people to experience as much as they can instead of talking at them,
lecturing at them, or reading information to them," said Annette Brown, the Iowa
State University (ISU) Extension 4-H development specialist who has
managed the program for many years.
The Amazing Human Machine is open to fifth- and sixth-graders. It uses
experiments and models of the human organs to stimulate the interest of
participants.
Students will learn about cells, the digestive system, the respiratory system, the
circulatory system, and the brain.
Though each of these topics can take as long as a semester in college to convey
in full, mentioned Brown, the Amazing Human Machine program does a good job
of summarizing these complicated systems.
It comes at an important time in the youths' lives, Brown said. It corresponds to
the age that youth are most likely being introduced to the body in school.
In accordance with the funding the development program is receiving from a
federal Drug Free Communities grant awarded to Boone Project SAFE
(Substance Abuse Free Environment), the program will hone in on the negative
consequences of substances on the body.
Whereas the program once focused mainly on the systems, the new approach is
to place special emphasis on the threats to those areas (illicit drugs, alcoholic
beverages).
It explains why this year Kelly Wooden, a tobacco prevention specialist, steps in
place of other extension specialists who have helped conduct the program in the
past.
Wooden will help explain the negative impacts of tobacco use on the lungs. She
intends to illustrate the point with a jar of tar to show what a smoker's lung
eventually can look like. Brown says that it can be pretty graphic, but effective.
"We do have fifth- and sixth-graders already using substances...cigarettes would
probably be the most common one, but there are [many who] experimented with
alcohol, particularly beer," Brown said.
Showing these children the truth of the damaging effects before it is too late, said
Brown, can take some graphic depiction.
A particularly interesting portion of the program is the examination of the heart.
Using a real deer's heart as a sample, the students will examine the parts of the
organ.
Some students, attests Brown, get extraordinarily excited at the prospect of
poking around at the heart.
"We provide the gloves if they want to touch it (which many do)," Brown said.
Brown assures that the more squeamish students can opt out of participating in
this activity at any time.
"We give the students an opportunity to leave before we get the heart out," she
said.
The program also includes a showing of a video series developed by the makers
of Sesame Street. The video, "Brainstorm: The Truth about your Brain on Drugs,"
goes step-by-step through how the brain and nervous system operate and how
drugs disrupt that operation.
The video gives the personal accounts of once addicted teens and hardships
they faced before diving into the topic of the "legal killers" that are tobacco and
alcohol.
The Amazing Human Machine will be hosted as follows:
Ogden is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Feb. 20 at the Ogden Middle
School cafeteria.
Madrid will be 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, Feb. 24 at the Madrid Public Library.
Boone is scheduled for two early out days, March 29 and April 12, from 1:15 to
5:15 p.m. at Sacred Heart School.
Ogden and Madrid youth do need to bring a sack lunch.
Registration forms are being sent home with students and are available at school
offices.
Forms also are available at the Boone County Extension office or Web site
http://www.extension.iastate.edu/boone/. Home school students are welcome.
The program is free-of-charge to youth because it is funded by a federal Drug
Free Communities grant. Questions may be addressed to Annette at 432-3882 or
Kelly at 432-7995.
Cory Frolik can be reached at [email protected]
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