In the 6:1:1 physiology class at Westview in the Department for Exceptional Children, students learn about cells, homeostasis and the human body. Along the way, these ninth- and 10th-graders also learn the importance of establishing and maintaining meaningful relationships.
As part of a unit on digestion, students explored the role processed macromolecules play in helping long distance runners face the extreme physical demands of marathon races. They watched videos and read articles on marathon and ultramarathon running. Finally, teacher Mackenzie Garcia challenged students to make a personal connection to the science. She arranged a special visit from an old friend, Ridgecrest Academy teacher Mike Bray.
Most of the students remembered Bray as their former Physical Education teacher. Bray is also an experienced runner, who has competed in marathons of up to 100 miles. Curious students quizzed him on his training, nutrition and hydration. They asked about muscle overuse and strategies for injury prevention. They even asked him if his shaved head was a choice (it is). Bray spoke with several classes throughout the day.
“The students enjoyed being able to learn more about Mr. Bray's personal experiences with long distance running,” said Garcia. “They enjoyed catching up with their former teacher. It’s important for our students to not only learn academics, but to also establish relationships with each other and the staff. This provided a great opportunity to reestablish a relationship.”