SPARTA, N J – The third grade students at Mohawk Avenue School are getting heart smart. School nurse Leslie Huhn is getting creative when teaching students about heart health.

After getting the health lesson in their classroom, students were given diagrams of the heart to fill out and color in.  Huhn made it into a contest awarding a pedometer to each student in the class with the greatest participation. 

This year it was a tie between Sullivan and Nademus classes. 

Sign Up for E-News

The idea for the contest came last year when the school had extra pedometers from a batch that had been given to the teachers.  “So many of the teachers have fit bits or other devices that they didn’t have the need for the pedometers,” Huhn said.

This is the third year of this program.  Huhn said she was disappointed in the number of students who took the time to complete the diagram after the lesson was done in the first year.  Last year she thought of the contest and it worked.  “They love the competition,” she said. 

Huhn reached out to the Sussex County Health department and they donated the pedometers again this year.

The walls of her office are covered with colored hearts created by the students.  Some students came to her office to show off their pedometers.  They talked about some of the interesting facts they learned about the heart in Huhn’s lesson including the surprising statistic that the blood travels over 12,000 miles a day, the heart beats 100,000 times each day and the blood circulates three times per minute through the entire body.

“When the students learn these things about their heart, they seem to be more interested in taking care of it,” Huhn said. 

The hands-on lesson included the opportunity for the students to hear their own heart beat and learn how to find their pulse.  She had them check their resting heart rate then do jumping jacks and check their pulse again, as a way to make the lesson more relevant.  “I love it when I can see the look on their faces when I know they get it,” Huhn said. 

“I liked it when I got to hear my heart beat,” Jenna Flake said.

The students each had opinions about their favorite part of the lesson.  Christopher Oommen said he “liked coloring the heart the best. 

Brielle Fastnacht said the word search was her favorite part.

Student Parker Lombardi was excited to tell Huhn that he “had 5012 steps by bed time last night.”