Students learn healthy lifestyles

Mrs. Duckett’s winning Zumba class.

Fifth graders from Moulton Middle School learned how to live a more active and healthy lifestyle through an innovative program developed by University of Illinois Extension’s Illinois 4-H. Funding for all the incentive awards, snacks and lunch for the field trip was provided by Illinois 4-H.

In March, Health Jam was introduced to fifth graders. One aspect of the program is to encourage exercise and team work. Classes were divided into teams of four with the goal of completing 30 minutes of daily physical activity or the equivalent of 2 miles per day, and at the end of the eight weeks, teams would have walked a total of 448 miles or the equivalent of the northern tip of Illinois to the very southern tip.

During the eight-weeks of classroom visits, students engaged in classroom learning activities taught by Extension staff Yolanda Nation, 4-H and Youth Development Program Coordinator. During these activities, youth explored the human body, healthy lifestyles, nutritious snacks and games. Each week students were encouraged to achieve their weekly goal of 14 miles of exercise per student. Students were also introduced to a variety of “try-it or funky” foods to get students to try new foods they may not otherwise have tried on their own. Several students commented that there were several of the “try-it” foods that they really liked such as mangoes and pomegranate seeds and would ask their parents to purchase them.

On May 6, 81 students participated in the 4-H Health Jam Field Trip. Lake Shelbyville Corps of Engineers, HSHS Good Shepherd Hospital, and Zumba Instructor Kim McClimans collaborated with University of Illinois Extension to conduct the program. The fifth grade students learned how to keep their bodies’ healthy, explored health profession careers, and learned about different types of exercise through hands-on activities taught by volunteers and staff from collaborating organizations. HSHS Good Shepherd had four staff members that led a variety of workstations for the morning session. Kristin Hayden discussed general health care. Teri Whalen, COTA/L, from rehabilitation services, discussed the bones in the body and led students through an activity that required them to put all the bones in the body in the correct locations on a skeleton. Timmerle Scholes, RT(R)(M), from the radiology department talked about healthy bones while showing actual x-rays of fractures. Registered Dietitian, Matt McPherson, lectured about the importance of good nutrition, and healthy eating choices with an array of hands-on exhibits.

The afternoon session consisted of a nature hike around the Visitors Center, led by Park Ranger Sarah Haslett. Teri Whalen taught glow in the dark yoga. Kim McClimans, taught each class a different Zumba routine and students watched a video on water safety. The finale wrapped up with a Zumba dance off between classes with Mrs. Duckett’s class being declared the winner. A big thank you to our partnering organizations for their help in creating a fun and educational field trip for Shelbyville fifth graders.

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