Students at Lansing Elementary School are getting swallowed whole in an immersive learning experience.
Students at Lansing Elementary School are getting swallowed whole in an immersive learning experience. On Thursday and Friday, the school hosted the traveling “Body Venture” exhibit developed by the Kansas Department of Education for its 1,350 students, its seven stations each focusing on a different part of the body, guided by volunteers from Lansing High School. Students going through the exhibit learn about the functions of that body part — the mouth, the stomach, intestine, bones and skin, among others — in addition to how they can keep them healthy through proper diet and exercise. Through each of stations, the refrain is “Eat Smart, Play Hard.” According to Lansing Elementary School teacher Barbara Robinson, bringing Body Venture here was an idea that came from the school’s site council. Officials at the school received a Lansing Educational Foundation grant in September to bring the project to the school, though they used some forethought to ensure that the popular exhibit was available. “We had to get this reserved about a year and a half ago,” she said. Kathy Thompson, Body Venture coordinator, said the exhibit has been traveling around for the last 11 years. It was initially built using as its template a similar program based in Missouri and was revamped six years ago. Some of the information at the different stops are lessons the students might already be learning in science class. But Robinson, who was one of the sponsors for the grant to bring Body Venture to the schools, said the exhibit goes further. “It’s really great for hands-on learning,” she said. “You can look at a book, but it’s not the same as being in it.” Robinson and LES Principal Tim Newton said Body Venture also fits nicely alongside the broader health and wellness initiative started at Lansing schools this year. There are exercise and fitness classes for the faculty and staff in the morning, the elementary and middle schools’ respective walking clubs and the prospect of a walking trail built around the campuses off of Mary Street. As far as incorporating those lessons into the curriculum, Dr. Richard Whitlow, the president of the Lansing School Board, an M.D., said he was glad the district was able to host the project — he lauded the information presented and the unique interactive delivery of that message. “I think it’s pretty cool,” he said. “Kansas made this for Kansas kids.”