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Hands-on health education for families

This article appeared in the December 16, 2011 edition of the Davis Enterprise.

By Lisa Justice
Special to the Enterprise

On a recent Tuesday night in Tracy visitors at an Explorit Science Center Health in Your World Family Science Night program took turns squeezing a tennis ball through a nylon stocking to simulate how the esophagus carries food from your mouth to your stomach.  They also measured a flat surface and a ridged surface to discover that a ridged surface is longer, so the intestines are ridged to create more space for absorbing nutrients.

Thanks to the generosity of the Health Plan of San Joaquin Explorit was able to provide this interactive health education program to ten schools in San Joaquin county this fall.  With fourteen hands-on stations about the human body, health, medicine, nutrition and fitness this program educates students and their families how their bodies work and how to best care for them.

At a dental themed station, visitors practice brushing and flossing oversized teeth to learn the importance of oral hygiene and make it fun.  A matching activity demonstrates how your teeth are tools.  They are differently shaped for different purposes: cutting, tearing, grinding.  And they all work together to help us eat.

But what we choose to eat and how much are also important questions.  A nutrition themed station challenges visitors to compare labels on various beverages like soda, flavored water and juice to see how much sugar each one contains.  A quick calculation activity demonstrates how much sugar is too much sugar to consume in one day.

Also at the nutrition station visitors compare test tubes of different kinds of saturated and unsaturated fats to see their effects on our blood vessels.  Unsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature and include things like olive oil and the fats in avocados and most nuts.

Saturated fats are solid at room temperature and include butter and cheese.  Saturated fats can build up in our blood vessels and make it harder for our hearts to pump blood all through our bodies.

Through such hands-on activities visitors develop a better understanding of how their bodies work and what they can do to keep them healthy.  After observing models of a healthy lung and a smoker’s lung at the lung station, one student vowed he would never smoke because he didn’t want his lungs to look like that.

Explorit would like to thank the Health Plan of San Joaquin for bringing this program to so many schools. 

Explorit is now taking reservations for both our Science in Your World and Health in Your World programs.  If you would like more information about either or would like to make a reservation for your school, please call us at (530) 756-0191 or visit our website at

Explorit’s coming events:

• Explorit’s newest Exhibition, “Forces of Nature” is open December 20 - 24 and December 27 – 31, 2011 for the winter break from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m.  at 3141 5th Street .
Explorit Science Center is located at 3141 5th St. and is open to the public the first Saturday and Sunday of every month.  For more information call (530) 756-0191 or visit, or “like” us on Facebook at

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