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Mrs. Thrasher's Class Is Hard At Work!

We recently heard from Jeannie Thrasher from Wilkins Elementary School in Jackson, MS.  Her class is working hard to “be the best they can be.” We think you’ll enjoy hearing more about their efforts:

Each morning we start off with the WISERCISE! march. After having many students and teachers ask us what we were doing, we created posters to place outside our classroom with each day’s cadence and the ‘Roll Call/Organwise’ rules. We also posted pictures to show how to do the motions for LOW-FAT, HIGH- FIBER, LOTS OF WATER AND EXERCISE! (My son, Cody, is stationed at a Marine base in Okinawa, Japan so he taught us how to march properly!)

After taking the pre-test, we decided to find out exactly what low-fat, high-fiber, lots of water, and exercise means. We researched FDA (an acronym for the Food and Drug Administration) guidelines in labeling foods low-fat in our technology center. We discovered that less than 0.5 grams of fat per serving is considered fat-free and 3 grams or less per serving is considered low-fat. We took several types of food (fruits, vegetables, meat, and some of our favorite “junk food”) and rubbed them on a paper bag. We labeled the food and looked at nutrition labels or nutrition charts to determine total fat content and added that information as well. After sealing the paper bags in ziploc bags (so we wouldn’t have ant visitors), we taped them to the wall. What we discovered was that the bags with the most fat became saturated with fat. We decided that the same thing would happen inside our bodies.

For our science center, we had to look at nutrition charts to find foods that were high in fiber. We found out that high-fiber foods passed through our digestive system easily and included lots of plant-based foods. We had just completed a “Sprouting Seeds” project in which we watched various seeds we planted sprout in the window before we potted them and took them home so we knew that plants needed sunlight, air, and water. Now we knew they were high in fiber. We researched why high-fiber was good for you and read various responses on the internet. Our favorite response was “A diet high in fiber is good for your digestive system because it clears your body of doodie!” For extra credit, we are keeping food journals at home to document our healthy eating choices.

We found another website that calculated how much water you should drink. This formula took into account  your weight plus other variables such as being pregnant, living in extreme climates and/or in dry areas (Mississippi did not apply to either, we concluded), and how much you exercised per day. Our calculations ranged from needing 36 oz. per day to 127 oz! We inferred that the more you weighed, the more water your body required.

Yesterday, on our historical fact board, two of our students, Jayden Terry and Javyiontaye Coleman had to research an interesting link we discovered: First Lady Michelle Obama tries to set world record for Guinness Book of World Records. Upon investigating, they discovered that the First Lady was setting a record of most people doing jumping jacks for one minute. Local Washington students will be doing jumping jacks on the lawn of the White House to break a world record of over 20,459 people jumping at the same time. In addition, she created an initiative called “Let’s Jump” in which students across the country can join in and be a part of the historical event. These two students wrote a proposal to the principal asking if our school can participate next Wednesday morning (October 12, 2011) and have also sent press releases asking for coverage from the local media. Our class is used to jumping jacks; we spell our weekly spelling words while doing jumping jacks daily!

Our latest experiment involves mold in foods. We have predicted which bread molds faster, white or wheat (the vote is an almost even split!) and which type of cheese grows the most mold. Tyrone McKee revealed that our blue cheese is already molded when you buy it, which launched an investigation into what causes mold, the types of mold, and whether or not mold in foods in harmful. We are still observing our bread and cheeses for mold growth.

My diet is also scrutinized by the class. I bring two thermoses to school daily. The first is tea and the second is kool-aid. The students researched and deduced that the main culprit of not sleeping well for their teacher is too much caffeine. So the tea gets drunk before noon and the kool-aid is after lunch. They also monitor water intake, which is not nearly enough according to the calculations! They also know that I love candied orange slices. I argue that they are fat-free so they must be good for you. The class disagrees but they are still searching for an informed reason why low-fat doesn’t necessarily mean healthy!
Wow!  We applaud Mrs. Thrasher and the work she is doing to teach her class real life lessons! And class – keep encouraging Mrs. Thrasher to drink water (maybe you could all give up kool-aid for water one week to see if you sleep better without the sugar!) and keep looking into those candied oranges! We bet you can find a healthy treat that’s just as delicious!

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