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Exhibit Creates Food for Thought for Students

Hamden Hall first- and second-graders learn what's healthy and what's not at Peabody Museum.

Hamden Hall first- and second-graders were given food for thought recently as to what eat and drink, from chocolate chip cookies to cheeseburgers to soft drinks.

The two Lower School grades traveled to the Yale Peabody Museum last week to digest the exhibit, Big Food.

The exhibit weighs in on the American diet and our consumption levels – especially in comparison with the portions ingested by our ancestors just a generation ago.

The field trip was the brainchild of former Hamden Hall educator Dr. Barbara Beitch, who has been associated with the Peabody since her retirement from Hamden Hall in 2004.

“I’ve been trained to act as a docent for the current Big Food exhibit, which has been a huge success,” said Dr. Beitch. “It is user-friendly and hands-on, and it teaches students of all ages about healthy nutrition. I wish I had known more about the Peabody when I taught at Hamden Hall.”

Lower School Director Andrew Niblock noted that some of the school’s most interesting learning experiences come about as a result of the relationships the school maintains with its experts – among them Dr. Beitch.

“The exhibit extends what Dr. Beitch was so passionate about as an educator at Hamden Hall,” he said. “Her passions included health, hygiene, biology and more.”

The Peabody visit became a topic of conversation at the dinner table for the Cohen family when first-grader Helena mentioned the day’s events.

“There was a tall wall and on it were little doors,” explained Helena. “On the inside of them were answers on what is healthy and not healthy.”

The field trip enhanced the Lower Schoolers’ knowledge of the food groups and the various pitfalls inherent in those food that contain sugar and fat. Helena noted that it’s interesting that fruit is considered healthy and yet has some sugar in it. 

Interesting too, she said, was the fake fat display – a blobby mass that is the equivalent of five pounds of human fat. Helena said the yellowish object felt like rubber and was “cool.”

Physical education teacher Mark McEachern, first-grade teachers Terry Porto and Donna Lyons, and second-grade teacher Sandy Cunningham accompanied the students on the field trip. 

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