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HNS students get fresh look into what it means to be healthy

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HARTINGTON — Students at Hartington-Newcastle recently learned about healthy habits from UNL Extension educator Megan Hanefeldt.

Junior high students in Rita Pedersen’s independent study class and Monica Kathol’s first grade class met with Hanefeldt about good handwashing and the importance of healthy eating. Hanefeldt led the students

Hanefeldt led the students through a program entitled “Germs, Germs, Germs.”

The program emphasized the importance of handwashing through an interactive activity using an ultraviolet light to show all of the bacteria left on students’ hands, even after handwashing.

Students placed their hands under the light to show how much bacteria was there. After a ‘thorough’ handwashing, the students then looked back under the light to find not all of the bacteria was washed away.

“[The first graders] figured out they needed to make sure they spend a little more time and effort getting under their fingernails and scrub more on top of their hands, too,” Kathol said.

Pedersen said the relevance of the program due to the pandemic was particularly eye-opening considering the current health crisis with which our nation is dealing.

“I think my students were a bit surprised by what they saw after they had ‘thoroughly washed their hands,’” she said.

Hanefeldt also led the students in an activity about healthy eating.

Students were brought to the school stage and shown a stationary bike outfitted with a blender on the back, powered by students’ pedaling. Using the blender bike, students made strawberrybanana smoothies. Students were then able to sample their creations.

“[The first graders] got a ‘kick’ out of using their legs to peddle and make the blender go, and thought it was a pretty cool way to make a smoothie,” Kathol said. Pedersen has used the programs

Pedersen has used the programs from the Extension office for many years.

“My junior high students have always enjoyed the programs the Extension educators provide,” she said.

The junior high students were enthusiastic about the program.

Alex Reineke said he thought the experiment with the blacklight was interesting. Jade Ford expressed her joy of pedaling the bike and watching it create its results. Pedersen plans to continue using

Pedersen plans to continue using programs from the Extension office in the future.

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