By Molly Underwood / February 26, 2020

Love STEMs from the heart – National Heart Month

Even though Valentine’s Day has already passed, we’re still talking about hearts! And no, not the lovey-dovey kind, the one that helps you do all the things you do each and every day. February is American Heart Month – a month to recognize yours and others’ heart health and ways to commit to a healthy lifestyle.

There are so many factors that can assist us in keeping our hearts healthy so that we can continue to L-O-V-E those around us. You just have to start somewhere. Whether that’s getting some exercise, eating healthy, or just practicing some self-love, we need it ALL!  

We know you care about your students’ education so much. Setting them up for a successful future is a sure way to help them prepare for a healthy future. You have the opportunity to influence, equip, and bring awareness to a heart-healthy life. What a big role you have! Don’t worry, we have you covered to help get started!

Makers and Movers in the Classroom

It’s never too early to start giving a heart some TLC, so why not start in the classroom? Did you know that kids actually learn better when they move? Yes, really, moving can help students learn. Moving can increase students’ concentration levels, create positive effects on their behavior, and give them more success on their overall academics – plus, it’ll get their wiggles out! Get to moving in your classroom with these activities:

  • STEM in the Gym™ – Try learning while moving! Our STEM in the Gym products teach students different STEM concepts such as simple machines, force and motion, troubleshooting, or gear ratios. This is everything you need to plan STEM activities for those active students. Plus, it sparks some friendly competition, which is good for building social skills.
  • Four-Corner Discussions – Create a moving debate. Give your students a debatable statement for your learning unit. Divide the room into four corners of different ideas, letting your students move to the corner for what they believe and discuss with their peers. For example the corners could be Strongly Agree, Agree, Disagree, and Strongly Disagree. This gets your students up and moving and connecting with peers by using their communication skills.
  • Brain Breaks – Take a break every hour to restart students’ brains and refocus. You can create a jar of different activities to perform each brain break. Activities could be “Do 10 squats” or a yoga pose to master for the day. The opportunities are endless!
  • Jumping Jack Math – Split your class up into pairs. Have one student do a number of jumping jacks and then the other do a different number. Have the first student multiply the two numbers. Let your students take turns on giving the answer.

Loving Your Heart Begins with You

Heart disease is big – like-leading-cause-of-death-in-America big. Scary, right? But it doesn’t have to be that way! The good thing about heart disease is that it is largely preventable, and you can start now! Here’s a few steps to add to your life:

  • Exercise daily – Finding time to exercise is hard, but adding 15-30 minutes a day to move can be so helpful! You don’t have to have a gym membership or a personal trainer; you can do it in your own home! Check out the American Heart Association for fitness ideas.
  • Sleep ­MORE – Yes! We’re telling you to get more sleep; you need it. Not getting the recommended seven hours each night increases your blood pressure, which can lead to heart disease. Try sticking to a sleep schedule to get your body adjusted. And try not to check up on social media before you go to bed; we’re all guilty of that. Artificial light can make it harder to fall asleep.
  • Reduce stress levels – Stress affects everyone. Whatever life might throw at you, it’s critical to manage your stress. As your stress levels rise, your body will respond as if it’s in danger – making your breath quicken, your heart race, and your hormones rise – aka fight-or-flight mode. There are many different ways to relieve stress, but each person is different. Try out some of these to find your best fit:
    • Exercise.
    • Talk to someone you trust.
    • Find a hobby or volunteer your time.
    • Relax and focus on the present.
  • Add healthy, hearty food – Eat good, feel good, and treat yourself once in a while! We’re not saying to go on a strict diet, but adding more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, and lean meats can be beneficial. Make cooking fun and hands on by bringing your kids or students into the kitchen! There are so many naturally integrated STEM concepts you can touch on. Check out some delicious, quick, and healthy meals, cooking tips, and cookbooks from the American Heart Association.
  • Visit your doctor – To get more of an insight on your heart health, see your doctor! He or she will get your blood pressure, family history, and more to understand the risks you might have. 

As you are filling others’ buckets with positivity, compassion, and encouragement, you have to make sure yours is also getting filled. So, take the time to love yourself. You deserve it. #Selflove

We challenge you to start making healthy decisions this month! Let us know what you are doing to make your heart healthy by commenting below or sharing with us on social media!

And lastly, remember, happy heart leads to a happy life. ❤️ 

Resources:
“February is American Heart Month”

National-Heart-Month-600-0220

TOPICS: IN THE CLASSROOM, BEYOND THE CLASSROOM, IDEAS & INSPIRATION, Teacher Resources, STEM, Resources, STEM Expeditions, Authentic Learning, STEM Units, Social and emotional learning, Activities, 21st Century Skills, Hands-on Learning, STEAM

Molly Underwood

Written by Molly Underwood

Hey all! I’m new to the Pitsco family. After interning a while, I started as a full-time Marketing Specialist. Days are busy assisting with digital marketing projects and anything else needed around the department. I knew marketing would be a great fit for me, as I love to share my passions with anyone who will listen. I recently graduated from Kansas State University (GO CATS!) and moved to a farm that has given me a lot of new experiences. Now my downtime is spent renovating me and and my husband’s new home, road-tripping, and being a foodie.