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Friday, November 20, 2015

Week 11 of Nutrition Expedition: Noteworthy Nails!

November 16-20, 2015
Photo by Ashleigh W.

Noteworthy Nails

We took a few steps to make our fingernails notably healthy this week in Nutrition Expedition! The children helped me make delicious guacamole deviled-eggs (full of good vitamins for our nails), and we moisturized our hands and fingernails!

We first talked about what our nails are made of. Did you know that they are made up of the same protein found in our hair and skin? According to KidsHealth.org, our nails grow in very much the same way as our hair, which we learned about last week. When the cells at the root of our nail grow, the new cells continuously push up the old cells, hardening and flattening along the way (thanks to that wonderful protein, keratin!), causing the new nail to slide and grow along our nail bed. The area of the nail attached to the bed is pink because of the blood vessels underneath that feed it! Our nails actually grow quite slowly; only about a tenth-of-an-inch each month, and it takes from 3 to 6 months to completely replace our nails! We learned the words cuticle:  the u-shaped skin that surrounds and protects the base and root of our nails, and lunula:  the white, moon-shaped area at the base of our nail, most visible on our thumbs.

We also learned some ways to take care of our nails:  keeping them trimmed and clean, eating healthy foods (things that contain protein, antioxidants, zinc, magnesium, vitamin D, etc.), and keeping them moisturized. Biting and picking at nails can lead to infections, so we should let our grown-ups trim them with clippers! 

I wanted to choose a cooking activity that would benefit our nails, so I decided on eggs (a good source of protein, vitamin D, and biotin, which plays a role in the development of keratin) and avocados (rich in good fats, protein, and vitamins that can help restore brittle nails). Check out this link to find more foods that benefit your skin, hair, and nails:  Beneficial Foods. I was able to find a recipe that used both eggs and avocado:  Guacamole Deviled-Eggs! The children had a great time assisting in the preparation of this delicious snack! Here is the recipe, if you're interested in trying these at home:

After we enjoyed our healthy snack, I moisturized and massaged all the children's hands and fingernails with a soothing, lavender lotion! They thought this was pretty silly :) Check out the photos below, and our "super sleuth questions" for the week.

Super Sleuth Questions 

1.  What are your nails made of? (answer:  keratin or protein)
2. Do your nails grow fast or slow? (answer:  slow)
3. What is the moon-shaped area at the bottom of your nail called? (answer:  lunula)
4. Is it ok to bite your nails? (answer:  no, they could get infected)














Photo by Kelly V.

Photo by Kelly V.

Photo by Kelly V.

Photo by Kelly V.

Photo by Kelly V.

Photo by Kelly V.

Photo by Kelly V.

Photo by Kelly V.



Photo by Kelly V.





Photo by Ashleigh W.

Photo by Ashleigh W.








Thursday, November 12, 2015

Week 10 of Nutrition Expedition: A Good Hair Day!

November 9-13, 2015


A Good Hair Day!

It was a good hair WEEK in Nutrition Expedition! We had a very stimulating lesson on our hair, the role it plays on our body, and how it grows.

After some research, we learned that we have hair all over our body! Some we can see, like the hair on our head, eyebrows and eyelashes, while other hair is nearly invisible, like the hair on our cheek. Hair plays a very important role; it keeps us warm, keeps dirt and germs out of our eyes (eyelashes), and sweat from running into our eyes (eyebrows)! 

The older children wanted to know what hair was made out of, so we investigated and found out that it is made up of a protein called keratin. Cells begin sticking together, forming the keratin at the root of the hair, found in the subcutaneous layer of our skin. As the hair grows, it travels upward through the follicle (or tube that contains each strand of hair) and passes through the oil glands in our dermis layer, which gives our hair shine and a soft texture. Once it passes through the epidermis, the hair dies, but continues to grow for up to 6 years. That's why it doesn't hurt to get a hair cut! The children were also fascinated to find out that a person sheds 50-100 hairs every day! Incredible! It's a good thing a new strand grows in its place :) Click on the link if you'd like more information:  KidsHealth.org

After our findings, we started the process of growing our own "hair"! I gave each child a cup with their picture on it, some dirt, and a handful of grass seeds. They filled their cups with dirt, sprinkled some seeds on top, and we gave it a healthy drink of water. With any luck, we'll have "hair" growing in a week or two. It'll sure be fun to see them give their little grass people a haircut :) 

Super Sleuth Questions

1. What kind of hair protects our eyes from dirt, germs, and bright light? (answer:  eyelashes)
2. How many hairs do we lose every day? (answer:  around 50-100)
3. What makes our hair soft and shiny? (answer:  oil from our oil glands)
4. How can we take care of our hair and keep it healthy? (answer:  keep it clean and eat nutritious food)