It's not every day pupils get to hold a deer's heart.
Fourth graders at Episcopal Day School attending math and science teacher Debbie Partrick's Heart Health Fair on Jan. 14 had that opportunity.
At the fair, groups of 9- and 10-year-olds rotated between five stations manned by Mrs. Partrick and four of the fourth graders' mothers, all of whom are registered nurses.
At the stations, pupils checked their blood pressure, pulse rate and oxygen levels, had electrocardiogram readings taken, listened to heartbeats with a stethoscope and closely examined a preserved deer's heart.
"They've learned from diagrams about the different parts of the heart - the arteries, vessels and so on," Mrs. Partrick said. "Now they get to identify them on a real heart."
Carlee Moss, 9, said her favorite station was the EKG machine. Nine-year-old Forest O'Quinn agreed.
"I liked doing the EKG because I could see my heart rate on a sheet of paper. And I liked the deer heart," he said.
Grayson LaHatte, 9, also liked the deer heart. He liked touching the septum. But there was one thing he liked best about the day - "getting in touch with your heart," he said.
Mrs. Partrick held a heart health fair last year, but had only two stations. She said this year she had more pupils with mothers who were nurses and were interested in participating, including Debbie LaHatte, who helped organize the event.
"The children have really had a good time," said Dudley Guitton while wrapping bands around pupil's arms to check blood pressure. Mrs. Guitton was one of the three parent nurses there who currently are stay-at-home moms.
"I've been really impressed with the amount of anatomy learned," she said.
Nearly all of the fourth graders pointed out the aorta and other parts of the heart, the way blood flows through it, the difference between the systolic and dialstolic pressure and other scientific information.
"Mrs. Partrick is awesome," said Susan Everitt, the school's public relations director. "She has Mrs. Wizard Day where she puts on an apron and does something hands-on with the kids every week."
Principal Ned Murray said Mrs. Partrick is a phenomenal science teacher.
"The balance here is the kids are having fun doing hands-on things, while learning high school and college stuff they can use," he said.
Mr. Murray said he was impressed with the parent participation.
"This is an example of a parent body not just doing a bake sale, but participating with the student body using their expertise," he said.
Reach C. Samantha McKevie at (706) 823-3552 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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