The Third Direction is Body/Earth Connection

The below is from the D5 teaching manual. We hope it’s useful for you and your kids! It’s a long Direction, but here are a few common terms to get you started.

DirectionThree: The Body/Earth Connection

 The whole problem of health, in soil, plant, animal and man is one great subject.”

— Sir Albert Howard, 1939

Introduction:

The information available today on the state of our Earth’s health and its relation to our health is overwhelming, sad and often times discouraging. Shortsighted thinking leaves our planet and our very future in peril.

Consider the words from The Constitution of the Iroquois Nations:

“In all of your deliberations in the Confederate Council, in your efforts at law making, in all your official acts, self-interest shall be cast into oblivion. Cast not over your shoulder behind you the warnings of the nephews and nieces should they chide you for any error or wrong you may do, but return to the way of the Great Law, which is just and right. Look and listen for the welfare of the whole people and have always in view not only the present but also the coming generations, even those whose faces are yet beneath the surface of the ground – the unborn of the future Nation.”

We need to live today as if it’s seven generations from now and make decisions not only for ourselves but also for those who will walk on this Earth in 200 years. They will thank us for keeping them in our minds and hearts.

In order to make good choices we need to understand how our decisions affect the Earth’s health and our health. Keep in mind that only 1/32 of the earth’s surface is suitable for food production. We all share the world’s resources and as of 2008 the global population is 6.83 billion people with one billion overweight or obese and nearly one billion without adequate nutrition.

Here are some common terms:

An Aquifer is an underground source of water. This water may be contained in a layer of rock, sand or gravel.

The Body Burden is the total amount of a chemical in the body. Some chemicals build up in the body because they are stored in body organs like fat or bone or are eliminated very slowly.

An ecosystem is a system formed by the interaction of a community of organisms with their environment.

Energy is usable heat or power with the major sources being petroleum or coal. Renewable energy sources include solar and wind power.

Exposure refers to contact with a chemical by swallowing, breathing or direct contact such as through the skin or eyes. Exposure may be either short term (acute) or long term (chronic).

The Farm Bill is an omnibus bill, which is a Latin word that means ‘for everything.’ It is the primary agricultural and food policy tool of the United State government. The Farm Bill impacts the environment, our food and water supply and safety, organics, food assistance programs and the health of rural communities. It can be controversial because of food subsidies, meaning the government pays farmers to grow or not to grow certain crops and subsidizes farmer’s incomes. The Farm Bill is hundreds of pages long and can be found at:

http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?navid=FARMBILL2008

Food miles refer to the distance food travels to the point of production to the time it reaches the consumer. Food miles are one factor used in assessing the environmental impact of food. On average food travels between 1,500 and 2,500 miles before it arrives in your kitchen.

A Foodshed is a term used to describe the flow of food from producer to consumer. This general definition considers a geographic area that supplies a population area with food.

Global Warming is the gradual increase in the temperature of the earth’s atmosphere, believed to be due to the greenhouse effect, caused by increased levels of carbon dioxide, chlorofluorocarbons, and other pollutants.

Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) are organisms whose genetic characteristics have been altered by the insertion of a modified gene or a gene from another organism using the techniques of genetic engineering. This relatively new science allows DNA from one species to be injected into another species in a laboratory, creating combinations of plant, animal, bacteria, and viral genes that do not occur in nature or through traditional crossbreeding methods.

Inputs are defined as what is put in, taken in, or operated on by any process or system.

A kilocalorie, commonly referred to as kcal, is a unit of energy equivalent to 1000 calories.

A life cycle assessment, also known as Cradle to Grave Assessment, is a technique to assess environmental impacts associated with all the stages of a product’s life from-cradle-to-grave. As an example, you would ‘follow’ an apple from the farm where it is grown to the store where it is sold to your table and analyze all the impacts to the Earth and therefore your health.

A pathogen is a bacterium, virus, or other microorganism that can cause disease.

Pesticides are chemicals used to eliminate or control a variety of agricultural pests that can damage crops and livestock and reduce farm productivity. The most commonly applied pesticides are insecticides (to kill insects), herbicides (to kill weeds), rodenticides (to kill rodents), and fungicides (to control fungi, mold, and mildew). Of these pesticide classes, herbicides (weed killers) are the most widely used. Today, over 1 billion tons of pesticides are used in the US every year.

http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/factsheets/securty.htm

A watershed is the area of land where all of the water that is under it or drains off of it goes the same direction and into the same place.

 

 

 

Bone Health for Kids

Bone Health for Kids:

Here are some basic facts about bone health for kids. Use this checklist when teaching groups of kids or your own children. Involve them by asking the questions and waiting for the answers. It’s really fun!

 How many bones in an adult human body?

  • There are more in a kid’s body, as some bones haven’t fused together. More than half of our bones are in the hands and feet!

 Does a human or a giraffe have more bones in their neck?

  • They’re the same!

Peak ages for bone density and growth is 9-12 years of age. By age 17, 90% of bone mass is established.

Think of bones like a bank account: You put in calcium until you reach the age of 18, then the bank is closed and you can only withdraw.

Sources of calcium:

Dark, leafy greens such as collard greens and kale, spinach, chard, and bok choy.

Broccoli

Calcium-fortified orange juice and tofu.

Almonds

Dairy products

Milk also contains vitamin D, which helps absorb calcium

Some cereals

How much calcium do you need a day as kids?

  • 1300 mg, 1100 mg for adults

What else is good for bone health?

  • Exercise! Weight-bearing exercise is particularly good for bones. This can be from light weight lifting or by using their own weight for weight bearing exercise; such as you do with pushups.

Osteoporosis means porous bones. Ask the kids if they know what this word means. Explain that porous bones are weak bones.

What is not good for bone health?

Phosphoric Acid, which is found in sodas. It interferes with calcium absorption.

Caffeine also interferes with calcium absorption.

Kids like this next one and I am always surprised at how many kids know the meaning of the word. Ask them, do you know what ‘Euphemism’ means? Definition: The act or an example of substituting a mild, indirect, or vague term for one considered harsh, blunt, or offensive. Here is a real life example of a euphemism; ‘Energy’ drinks. ‘Energy drinks’ only give you short-term energy while doing a lot of damage to your good health.

Supplements: Vitamin D- 400 IU/day. Please ask your health professional for supplement advice.

Kids want strong bones and once they know the facts; they are more likely to lessen their soda and caffeine intake and increase bone-health foods.

 

 

 

 

The Socratic Method

At DirectionFive, we teach kids using the interactive Socratic method. Here is a summary for you. We hope it’s useful.

In his lecture, Political Science professor Rob Reich describes the Socratic method, pointing out the following:

 

  • Socratic inquiry is not “teaching” per se. It does not include PowerPoint driven lectures, detailed lesson plans or rote memorization. The teacher is neither “the sage on the stage” nor “the guide on the side.” The students are not passive recipients of knowledge.

 

  • The Socratic Method involves a shared dialogue between teacher and students. The teacher leads by posing thought-provoking questions. Students actively engage by asking questions of their own. The discussion goes back and forth.

 

  • The Socratic Method says Reich, “is better used to demonstrate complexity, difficulty, and uncertainty than to elicit facts about the world.” The aim of the questioning is to probe the underlying beliefs upon which each participant’s statements, arguments and assumptions are built.

 

  • The classroom environment is characterized by “productive discomfort,” not intimidation. The Socratic professor does not have all the answers and is not merely “testing” the students. The questioning proceeds open-ended with no pre-determined goal.

 

  • The focus is not on the participants’ statements but on the value system that underpins their beliefs, actions, and decisions. For this reason, any successful challenge to this system comes with high stakes—one might have to examine and change one’s life, but, Socrates is famous for saying, “the unexamined life is not worth living.”

 

  • “The Socratic professor,” Reich states, “is not the opponent in an argument, nor someone who always plays devil’s advocate, saying essentially: ‘If you affirm it, I deny it. If you deny it, I affirm it.’ This happens sometimes, but not as a matter of pedagogical principle.”

 

Both critical thinking and Socratic questioning share a common end. Critical thinking provides the conceptual tools for understanding how the mind functions in its pursuit of meaning and truth and Socratic questioning employs tools to frame questions in the pursuit of meaning and truth.