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Kids learn about nutrition from unusual lab partners

Frappuccino & friends

Andy Emerson, Michelle Blevins, Sarah Hodges, Eric Fleck, Jenae Yandell, Leslie Rossman, and Brittany Johnson take valuable class time to pose with Frappuccino the rat.
Photo by Matt Schroeder/Woodinville Weekly.

nutrition experiment by Matt Schroeder
Two classes at Hollywood Hill Elementary participated in a five-week nutrition experiment that shows the importance of a balanced diet.
   The visual aids in this experiment were named Cappuccino, Frappuccino, Calvin, and Hobbes. They are four albino lab rats.
   The sixth graders, taught by Mrs. Russell and Mrs. Wilson, were responsible for cleaning, feeding, recording data, and playing with the rats in the food nutrition project.
   "We found out that certain nutrients give certain qualities," said Eric Fleck, sixth grade student.
   The treatment rats were not as healthy or energetic as the others. There were differences in growth, appearance, and behavior between the two groups.
   Students in the class were interested and enthusiastic about the animal feeding unit.
   "It was really fun to learn what it takes to grow," said Leslie Rossman. By raising the rats themselves instead of just reading about nutrition, the students gained perspective.
   Andy Emerson agreed nutrition was important "because you have a better chance of not getting sick."
   The Washington State Dairy Council sponsors this program every year with the goal of teaching students that it's never too late to change diet habits for the better.
   Now that the program is over, the rats have found homes in the community. Eric Fleck adopted the two treatment rats, Frappuccino and Calvin, who now enjoy a lifestyle of sleeping and eating Rice Crispies.
   The control group, Hobbes and Cappuccino, found a home with Sarah Hodges, where they live under the assumed names of Rose and Lila.