Break the class into groups of four or five students and have each group create a report detailing a way water helps the body function. For example, water in the nose and lungs keeps mucus membranes moist so you can breathe. Fluids in the stomach help digest food and provide nutrients to the body. Allow each group to share the report with the class.
Health-care providers know that staying hydrated is important to maintain your health. The human body is approximately 60 percent water, and water content assists with every body system. Kids need to learn why they should drink sufficient liquid and what kinds of liquids qualify as the best choices. Children who learn this may develop healthy hydration habits for life.
Water in the Body
Factors Affecting Water Needs
Point out physical conditions that require the body to take in more water, such as when the weather is hot; when there is an illness with fever, vomiting or diarrhea; before and after exercise; and if a woman is pregnant or breastfeeding. Students can make posters reminding people to drink water and other beneficial liquids. Posters should include the recommendation that men drink approximately 100 ounces of water per day and women drink 75 ounces according to the Institute of Medicine.
You get a portion of your hydration needs from what you drink and a portion of it from what you eat. Students can make a pictorial collage of the best hydration sources and a list of sources recommended by health-care professionals and nutritionists. Post the collage in the classroom or on the classroom door to remind students to stay well-hydrated. Ask the cafeteria staff if you could post a similar collage in the lunchroom.
Hydration vs. Dehydration
Teach students the signs of sufficient hydration, such as pale or clear urine, good skin elasticity, appropriate sweating and recognizing signs of thirst. Contrast these signs of a healthy body with symptoms of dehydration, such as lethargy, dizziness, nausea and dark urine. Have students create a checklist they can use to determine their hydration status. Have students use the lists to check their hydration status three times a day for a week and to list the amount of fluids consumed each day.
Have each student prepare a healthy hydration booklet he can share with family and friends. Illustrate the booklet with appropriate pictures that remind the reader to drink plenty of fluids. Post the booklets in the classroom, and have the kids choose the best information to include in a classroom resource.
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