Willard Central Students are Heart Smart!

I have been so excited about what we have been doing in P.E. the last 2 weeks!  Your child has quite possibly mentioned participating in the Heart Obstacle Course sometime over the past two weeks.  Basically this course is composed of many pieces of equipment that includes large tunnels, mats, hula hoops, scooters, archways, jump ropes, hurdles, and playground balls laid out on the gym floor symbolizing the blood flow through the heart, lungs, and rest of the body.  Students are the blood that flows through the obstacle course and are required to do various exercises while on their journey.  It is a fantastic way to teach about the cardiovascular system while giving the students a great workout.

After discussing the basic function of the cardiovascular system the first week we went a step further and talked about heart disease and stroke last week.  We explained the negative effects of poor nutrition, lack of exercise, and smoking on this system and added a few details to the obstacle course to represent those negative effects.  Plaque in the arteries was represented by yellow butcher paper in the aorta and arteries leading to the brain and rest of the body.  We used red cones in the area of the brain to represent clots leading to a stroke.  The addition that got the most attention from the students was the fog machine near the lungs representing smoking and its negative effects.

This is such an important unit to teach since heart disease is the #1 leading killer among Americans today and stroke is the #3 leading killer.  Childhood obesity has reached epidemic proportions, with one in every three children overweight or obese.  If the current lifestyle trends continue, 75% of Americans will be overweight or obese by 2015!  Personally I desire a better future of health for our children and I know you do to.

The American Heart Association is responsible for the promotion of heart health through various ways.  The American Heart Association has provided over $44 million to research relating to children born with a heart defect, advocates at the federal and state levels for physical education and nutrition wellness in schools, and provide CPR courses for middle and high school students so that they can react during emergencies.  One of the most successful programs is Jump Rope for Heart.  This is something that we have been apart of for many years at Willard Central Elementary.  This program increases students’ knowledge of how to take care of their hearts and how they work, honors those in the community who have been affected by heart disease and stroke, and raises funds to support the American Heart Association’s efforts to create healthier lives, free of cardiovascular disease and stroke.

Next week your child will be bringing home an envelope and information about Jump Rope for Heart and how they can help save lives.  My hope is that by partnering together we will motivate, encourage, and inspire our children to make an impact by living healthier lives and being apart of raising funds for those affected by heart disease.  I will be sending emails throughout the next three weeks keeping you updated on the details of this event.

Thank you,

Luciana Brown
Physical Education Teacher
Willard Central Elementary
(417) 831-4440 ext. 16

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