An innovative way to learn about the importance of good nutrition and physical fitness is coming this week to Ark City students.

On April 4-5, the Body Venture exhibit will be set up at Arkansas City Middle School for USD 470 third-, fourth- and fifth-graders to experience.

Students will have the opportunity to explore the human body with Power Panther, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service mascot, as their guide.

The tour begins when students, in groups of eight to 10, are assigned a food such as a carrot, low-fat milk or a piece of chicken.

In the second station, they’ll walk through a giant ear into the brain. Inside the brain, students will experience brain waves and learn about brain function.

The “foods” step into the exhibit’s larger-than-life mouth, are “swallowed” through the esophagus tunnel and move into the stomach.

From the stomach, students will travel through the small intestine, where they are “absorbed” into the blood.

Then they follow the path of the nutrients to the heart, lungs, bones, muscles and skin stations.

Students will leave the body through a cut in the skin and proceed through Power Panther’s Pathway to Life.

This final station recaps key health concepts from each of the 10 previous stations.

Throughout the exhibit, students will learn how to apply Power Panther’s slogan: “Eat Smart. Play Hard.”

At each of Body Venture’s 11 stations, a Cowley College student will engage the students in a five-minute activity focused on healthy choices.

The traveling Body Venture exhibit was developed and is operated by Kansas State Department of Education’s Child Nutrition and Wellness.

“Body Venture provides a unique and exciting opportunity for Kansas elementary students to learn about their bodies and the importance of making healthy choices,” said Cheryl Johnson, director of Child Nutrition and Wellness.

The exhibit was developed to address increasing national concerns about the lack of physical activity and the declining nutritional status of young children, according to Meg Boggs, Body Venture coordinator.

For information on Body Venture, call Rosann Meier at Frances Willard Elementary School at (620) 441-2050.

This information was provided by USD 470 Public Relations Director Alisha Call.