You may be wondering, where do these Centenarians live? They live in Blue Zones! A Blue Zone are areas identified as being home the largest populations containing the world’s oldest citizens. There are five main blue zones; Sardinia, Italy, Okinawa, Japan, Nicoya, Costa Rica, Loma Linda California, and Ikaria, Greece.
Obviously, not everyone lives to be 100 years old! So on average how long are most of us going to live for? The average life span currently is 71.4 years old, almost three whole decades short of achieving Centenarian-ship! What can we do to increase our life span and live to be 100 years old?
Much of the fate of our longevity is impacted by our genetics. However, there are steps we can take to combat adverse conditions we may be a heightened risk of experiencing due to our genetics. These steps include making healthy decisions into healthy habits, eating well, sleeping well, exercising, smiling and enjoying life! If you are skeptical about those last two please browse this article and infographic.
In a world inundated with information and obsessed with health we must use science to separate fiction and fact.
At STARS my team (Keepin It 100) is exploring the many facets of health as we investigate the science behind living a long and high quality life or as we say “how we can strive to thrive for a century” in the city of Rochester.
Up to this point our team has investigated health in terms of communicable diseases starting with the role of bacteria and pathogens. Next we will move on to discuss the role of genetic and life style diseases impacting both the longevity and quality of life. Following that the team will assess the role habits play including what we do, what we eat, where we go, and daily decisions that impact our health. From there we will explore the resources at our disposal to both prevent and treat ailments. We decided upon investigating these core areas based on our STARS identification of key components of health; diet, environment, disease, fitness, and habits.
We have a clear roadmap to guide our investigations into health, but we are yet to really unpack what qualifies as healthy. There are so many articles, videos, blogs, and social media accounts that convey messages and images of health. A portion of these are effective or reliable, however, many are not. Therefore, we must use science to help us discern what truly is HEALTHY and what is NOT. We are currently approaching our unit on healthy habits starting with food choices. Our STARS have different ideas of what healthy foods are based on their personal experiences and background knowledge as do us team leaders. Healthy eating has come to have many meanings connected to all sorts of intensive diets and regimes. However, when it comes down to it healthy eating can be effectively defined using the science of nutrition and how our bodies metabolize what we ingest. Recently an article was forwarded to our team concerning healthy eating based on the concept of eating whole foods. It provides a list of “HEALTHY” snacks made from whole foods Please see the link: https://www.thehealthy.com/weight-loss/whole30-snacks/
What were your thoughts? Do these options sound HEALTHY? Are they appetizing? Were you surprised? What does Healthy Eating mean to you?
The following definition closely aligns with the concept of a diet focused on whole foods as healthy eating; “Healthy eating means eating a variety of foods that give you the nutrients you need to maintain your health, feel good, and have energy. These nutrients include protein, carbohydrates, fat, water, vitamins, and minerals.” (Breastcancer.org, 2018)
The list of whole food snacks is just that, an assortment of light fare created using food items that have minimally processed and are essentially void of artificial components. Does that mean all artificial and processed foods are inherently unhealthy? Not necessarily, but whole foods are generally higher in nutritional value and due to their more natural composition limit the exposure our bodies sustain to possibly harmful artificial components. We will be using this article as a spring board for our investigation into healthy foods! Our STARS will investigate healthy eating and create their own understanding of it. Then they will be challenged to create their very own healthy snack based on that understanding and include its nutritional values as data supporting its claim as HEALTHY.
Here are a few other sources that provide definitions of HEALTHY eating and other associated HEALTHY practices:
I base my own diet off of my own understanding of what HEALTHY eating is! While I do not completely avoid processed foods I do focus on eating mostly whole foods, portion sizes, including large amounts of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins! I look forward to sharing my passion and knowledge with my STARS as we investigate how what we eat can help us Keep it 100! Here are a few of the recipes I meal prepped today for this week:
References: What Does Healthy Eating Mean? (2018). Retrieved September 29, 2019, from https://www.breastcancer.org/tips/nutrition/healthy_eat
Not your classroom, not your rules, but somehow still your Golden Opportunity!
My placement at the Harley School has been amazing! It is true what they say that the best way to learn is through doing and I have learned so much from my CT and colleagues. However, it is odd to be in another educator’s domain that us as student teachers are suppose to takeover eventually. The classrooms and curriculum of each teacher in Harley are so personalized it is easy to feel like an intruder. That being said my CT and my students have been so very welcoming. They have really made me a part of the classroom and their community. I am starting to assume a stronger presence one month in to my placement and I am excited to keep this momentum going. Here are some of the projects I have been contributing to at Harley thus far:
A Slide Show of our Density Engineering Challenge: Check It Out!
Hello all (mom) sorry for the hiatus from Fish Out! I have been hard at work with the start of another wonderful semester at Warner, participating as a team leader in the Science STARS after school program, and my first student teaching placement! So without further a do…
Now that my blog is back in business I will be updating it weekly with the trials and tribulations of juggling grad school, student teaching, STARS after school, satisfying my thirst for science and being almost a whole person! First on the docket is STARS!
Who can tell me what STARS are? If you are thinking about the twinkling mass of combusting gas in the sky or the individuals under the dazzling lights in Hollywood while those are both technically STARS they are not what we will be discussing today. Rather we will be discussing more of a combination of the two…my after school STARS or Students Tackling Authentic and Relevant Science. These STARS are phenomenons in the science world just as are those we see in the sky. They are all talented and are featured in movies as well just like the STARS in Hollywood.
At STARS my team is “Keepin’ It 100” as we investigate what it means to be healthy, how can we improve the quality of life and its longevity in the city of Rochester as we strive to thrive for a century. Throughout our various investigations we will keep in mind these core concepts as well as the vision for our movie. This is where the idea of the Hollywood STARS come in. Our STARS will be scripting, producing, editing, casting, and starring in their own movie based on our scientific investigations into health.
The first day of our after school program our team laid the ground work for the vision of our film. The team decided they want the film to make an impact in their community, be informative on serious topics limiting our quality and longevity of life, but also be light-hearted and make the audience laugh. Our STARS also love to dance so whether its in the featured film or in the blooper reel there are sure to be Keepin’ It 100, dance parties on the big screen. These ideas are all wonderful and will make a great film. However, we encouraged our STARS to dream as big as they could and we will try to make their dreams come true for this film. We (the other team leader’s and myself) also have big dreams for our STARS and our film. Personally, I would love to have this film include professionals on health, community members struggling with health issues, as well as those who are healthy as can be, even those who are living to 100 years of age! I am the Community Outreach Coordinator so it is my responsibility to create opportunities for our STARS to visit places where health professionals are making a difference in life quality and longevity, interact with researchers working on cutting edge research, and bringing in those native to Rochester who see the struggles and wish to see it as well as all its citizens strive to thrive for a century!
A discussion about technology’s role in science education and what it means to be digitally rich in the classroom.
Hello everyone (mom)! As you all read this on your desktop, lap top, ipad or smart phone I encourage you to ponder the ubiquitous and integral role technology has come to play in our world. Technology has interwoven itself into you daily lives, our culture, as well as vocational, and educational institutions. Pretty astounding right?
Many of us millennials and older generations even more so can remember the start of technology in the home and school. From bulky home desktops to sleek almost weightless devices, overhead projections to smart boards, and so much more! Point is we saw these changes, well the generation of students I will be educating have not. Today’s technology is all they have ever known, and they are experts at it. As a preservice teacher there is a huge push to be digitally rich and digitally literature. This means I have to master the use of technology as an individual but also as an educator who can effectively implement it in her classroom to enhance student learning as well as creativity! This is a task easier said than done as technology can be unreliable and although it is ubiquitous in society it is not always equally distributed among students and their families.
This week my GRS (Get Real Science) cohort is running STEM Camp at Sodus Middle School during which we are challenged to incorporate technology into daily lessons with our campers. There are several obstacles with this;
Learning Curve! We are still learning how to use technology in an educational way when we are used to more leisurely and social uses of it.
Trial and Error! What counts as “rich” or “effective” for students vs. What is helpful for us as educators
Its complicated! There are complications that make accessing devices and other technological resources difficult.
Time Crunch! Allocation of time to explain or model the use of new applications, programs, or web pages that we incorporate into our lesson.
Digital Citizens! The task of raising not only self responsible individuals in the real world but also in the digital world.
Clearly there is a lot to consider as we look to create classrooms and curriculums based on digitally reach learning. This week is our first attempt at doing so. My group will be utilizing Venngage, PowerPoint, Google Docs, Mentimeter, and Youtube. Stay tuned for a debrief of how this week goes at Sodus!
One of my favorite sights is a sunset or a sunrise. The way the majestic colors blend to create these natural master pieces continue to astonish me. These works of art are in fact the work of science! Sunsets are the result of a phenomenon called scattering. Scattering is when molecules and particles in the air that redirect rays of light. The colors, shades, and all the intricate details are further curated by the extent of wavelength and particle size interacting.
To premise this it is important to know that the light we see travels in waves that vary in length along the electromagnetic spectrum. Traditionally, blue and violet wavelengths dominate the atmosphere when the sun is high and the sky appears blue during the day. During the day these shorter wavelengths of blue and violet light scatter at an increased frequency compared to other colors.
However, when the sun sits lower in the skyline, at sunset and at sunrise, the light has a longer path to your eyes and scatters at an increased rate. The increased scattering of longer wavelengths almost eliminates the blue and violet that reaches your eyes. Instead you see orange and yellow colors associated with sunrise and sunset. These have longer wavelengths. Then pink and red colors as the sun reaches the horizon (even longer wave lengths). This science is physics and its beautiful!
The next time you look at a sunset or a sunrise remember to appreciate the molecules and wave lengths that surround us daily.
It is no secret that our oceanic habitats are undergoing extreme and detrimental change due to the current state of pollution in our society. I am sure most of us are aware of the threats that straws pose to sea turtles, that soda can plastic rings pose to dolphins and seals, and the rapid deterioration of our coral reefs, but do you know the real problem? Its us and its plastic. The underlying problem in all those scenarios are the plastic pollutants we dump into our environment each and every day.
Water covers 71% of our earth’s surface and oceans hold about 96% of that water! (USGS, n.d.) Oceans are a huge source of life and diversity. Yet, each day we pollute it harming the life that lives within it, the environment, and ourselves. Each day about 8 million pieces of plastic enter the ocean! There is so much plastic in the ocean that these pollutants are being found on islands where humans do not even live. We have failed to keep our communities and local environments clean for too long and now no surface on Earth is pollutant free. Scientists have even discovered plastic in the poles! (“Plastic Pollution – Facts and Figures • Surfers Against Sewage,” n.d.)
While there are many groups, foundations, businesses, and concerned communities doing their part to help clean up our beaches and oceans these conservational efforts cannot counter act the rate at which we are polluting. Every summer I spent growing up on Fire Island I would walk the length of our community’s seashore with a trash bag picking up one piece of plastic after the next. On my route back home there would be new plastic washed up where I had just cleaned, it was so frustrating! I am sure this is a frustration that other concerned community members encounter everyday as well. This issue is more than frustrating it is dangerous for our environment, our marine life, and us.
Are we passed the point of redemption through “Reduce, Reuse, recycle” can offer?
Has our plastic pollution problem escalated beyond manageable means? If so are there other ways we can work save our oceans?
Hot New Science!
Now here comes
the good news. The answer is YES! There are new ways being tested to help clean
up our oceans. This new wave solution is bacteria, Ideonella
sakaiensis to be exact. These bacteria produce
an enzyme that breaks down the most popular form of plastic polluting our
environments PET. PET left in nature can take up to 450 years to dissolve,
however Ideonella sakaiensis can break down PET over the course of a few
days! Scientists are still experimenting with these new powerful pollution fighters,
but the results are promising but not perfect there is still a lot to
investigate and consider. That being said we all need to take innovative and
really commit to the “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” mantra. So remember at your upcoming
graduation party or wedding to forgo the straw, dispose of balloons safely,
recycle bottles and cans, and do your part to alleviate the bacteria’s work! (Patel, 2018)
Here are some articles for further
reading if you’re interested:
Patel, N. V. (2018, June 20).
Scientists stumbled upon a plastic-eating bacterium—then accidentally made it
Plastic Pollution – Facts and Figures • Surfers Against Sewage. (n.d.). Retrieved June 26, 2019, from https://www.sas.org.uk/our-work/plastic-pollution/plastic-pollution-facts-figures/
USGS. (n.d.). How Much
Water is There on Earth? Retrieved June 26, 2019, from
As always thank you for reading & Happy Friday! -Fish Out
Zoos are selectively breeding for healthier animals around the world.
This weekend I took a trip to Seneca Zoo to see the amazing animals they care for and enjoy the first day of summer with some friends. While I was there I ended having up an extremely compelling conversation with a zoo docent. Although they started by simply inquiring if I had any questions about the giraffe exhibit it turned into a science rich conversation about genetics, conservationism, and selective breeding.
At Seneca Zoo and many others in the U.S. there is program in place thats’ goal is promote species survival as well as enhance the quality of their live in and out of the zoo by scientific investigation and intervention. This program set in place by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) is called the Species Survival Plan (SSP). SSP is a program dedicated to species conservation which includes managing the research done, protections set in place, demographic placement of captive animals, and enhancing genetic diversity. SSP partners with 500 zoos and aquariums with the goal of not just sustaining but proliferating a lineage of healthier animals species.
I found the whole concept to be fascinating in terms of conservationism and science. I also found a connection to my lesson unit for our Sodus camp! Here at Seneca Zoo selective breeding was being done to increase the health of exotic animals! While we commonly see selective breeding in our other animals such as our pets, it is mostly used to produce a desired phenotype or observable characteristic. This can result in increased rates of illnesses and injuries such as hip dysplasia in German Shepherds.
SSP programs like the one in place at Seneca Zoo are being used to create healthier animals. They focus on not the desired phenotype, but the genotype or the unobservable genetic info that codes for traits. The animals in captivity have some of the highest quality genetics of their species and the zoo has the information to back this up as they have tracked the entire lineage of all of their animals. This information is used when the animals mate to produce an offspring that will be the healthiest it can be. The docent pointed out they are doing this not to create new species or super animals but to contribute to raising generations of exotic species that are more fit to survive in our ever changing environment. I am intrigued and eager to learn more about SSP. The concept of applying selective breeding to exotic animal species extended beyond my usual frame of thought and the premise of selectively breeding for healthier animals to promote species survival is an innovation I look forward to further investigating.
As always thank you for reading! Happy Summer! -Fish Out!
If you are interested in learning more about the AZA’s SSP program and or the Seneca Zoo here are some links: