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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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NMSU helps Chaparral students learn about health issues

Third graders in Chaparral, N.M., will be giving special hand-washing presentations to health professionals, educators and parents from 1 to 2:20 p.m. May 19, at Desert Trail Elementary School.

of a pilot project made possible through a grant from Paso Del Norte Health Foundation to NMSU's Southern Area Health Center, the students have been working hard for the past month to figure out ways to limit the amount of germs students get exposed to so they won't get sick.

With the help of a black light responsive lotion, the children learned how to wash their hands effectively to remove germs they can't see. After applying a lotion onto their hands that is visible only under a black light, students were instructed to wash their hands like they normally do to reduce germs. After they finished, they placed their hands under the black light and were able to see how little they had actually done.

"Instead of spoon-feeding information to the students, they have constructed their own understanding of why it is important to wash your hands and how germs enter the body," said Jagan Butler, program coordinator for NMSU's Southern Area Health Education Center.

Butler gave support and advice to curriculum developers and provided them with an outline of what the program was intended to accomplish.

Now these junior researchers will share their findings with adults in hopes that the whole community can come away with a new appreciation of and strategies for creating healthy environments and kids.

Formal presentations in English and Spanish are scheduled from 1 to 1:20 p.m. and again from 1:30 to 1:50 p.m. in each of the third-grade classrooms at Desert Trail Elementary School, located at 290 Lisa Drive, Chaparral, N.M.

For more information, contact Alma Galvan at (915) 383-7511 or pdrmex@prodigy.net.mx, Lisa LaRocque at (505) 571-8742 or intercambios@zianet.com or Jagan Butler at (505) 646-3441 or jabutler@nmsu.edu.

Austin Craig
May 17, 2006