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Children 2018, 5(12), 162; https://doi.org/10.3390/children5120162

Katalyst Pilot Study: Using Interactive Activities in Anatomy and Physiology to Teach Children the Scientific Foundation of Healthy Lifestyles

1
Division of Animal and Nutritional Sciences, Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources & Design, West Virginia University, G025 Agricultural Science Building, Morgantown, WV 26506, USA
2
School of Medicine, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV 26506, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 16 October 2018 / Revised: 26 November 2018 / Accepted: 27 November 2018 / Published: 28 November 2018
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Abstract

This pilot study evaluated the impact of the Katalyst curriculum, a fifth-grade experiential learning program, on students’ knowledge of a healthy lifestyle’s impact on body functions. Katalyst’s interactive curriculum spans two days and includes four, 60-min stations on body systems: cardiovascular/endocrine, gastrointestinal, neurological, and respiratory/musculoskeletal. Three schools were recruited, and two schools completed the intervention sessions. Prior to beginning the stations, fifth-grade students completed a 37-item questionnaire to assess knowledge and perceptions. Students completed the same survey at the end of the Katalyst intervention. Teachers at the school also completed a survey post intervention to provide feedback on the program. Frequency and paired analyses were conducted on student responses and summative content analysis on teacher and volunteer feedback. The School 1 completer (n = 63) baseline mean knowledge score was 66.2%. The School 2 completer (n = 47) baseline mean knowledge score was 67.3%. Following the Katalyst intervention, both schools showed a statistically significant increase in the mean post score to 70.3% (p = 0.0017) and 78.4%(p < 0.0001) at School 1 (n = 63) and School 2 (n = 47), respectively. Teacher feedback (n = 7) revealed that Katalyst was effective in meeting state educational health standards and teachers perceived that the students benefitted from the program more than “reading about the body systems in a textbook or health magazine”. The Katalyst pilot study appeared to improve fifth-grade students’ knowledge of body systems and health. Katalyst aligned with state educational standards and is supported by teachers for an experiential learning opportunity. The Katalyst curriculum could be a potential avenue for health educators in Appalachia. View Full-Text
Keywords: health education; lifestyles; experiential learning; students; elementary health education; lifestyles; experiential learning; students; elementary
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Hagedorn, R.L.; Baker, K.; DeJarnett, S.E.; Hendricks, T.; McGowan, M.; Joseph, L.; Olfert, M.D. Katalyst Pilot Study: Using Interactive Activities in Anatomy and Physiology to Teach Children the Scientific Foundation of Healthy Lifestyles. Children 2018, 5, 162.

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