The Doctor Is In! First Grades Get a Very Special Visit From an Orthopedic Surgeon

First graders in Jennifer Horowitz’s class at Todd Elementary have been learning about keeping their bodies healthy and strong straight from the source.

In Unit Three of their Scholastic Literacy book, students read about different parts of the body and their functions.

To help students learn on a deeper level, Horowitz invited her first cousin, Dr. Eric Fornari, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon at White Plains Hospital, to visit the class and give the students a closer look at bones.

He showed the students x-rays of various bones and explained their use in the body.

“Your spine is made up of lots of different bones,” he told the students. “The nerves come out of your spine – they tell your brain to move.”

Students also had the chance to touch replicas of bones such as those found in hands, knees and legs.

They were welcome to ask Dr. Fornari questions throughout the visit.

“How do all the bones in the hand stick together?” Andy asked.

Dr. Fornari responded that ligaments and tendons connect the bones.

“They are kind of like strings,” he said. “They allow you to move and bend you hand.”

He also explained how other bones were connected to one another, such as the different leg bones. He showed students areas where bones had growth plates and were not connected.

“Those are areas in kids’ bone that can grow,” he said.

“The body is smart. If a bone breaks, the body is going to put it back together on its own, but we want to put it back together straight, so sometimes we will use a cast or a splint to do that,” he said.

He then put splints on some of the student volunteers.

“There are different ways to make casts or splints,” he said. “With this splint, we dip the material in water which makes it hard, so that the bone stays in place.”

Dr. Fornari offered the students some tips on staying safe.

“I always tell my kids: I can fix all the bones except for the head. That is why it is always important to wear a helmet when you are on your bike or rollerblades or when you go skiing. We always have to protect the brain.”

He also reminded students to stretch before playing sports and to tell their parents if something hurts.

“And if you hurt your bones, don’t be afraid, because there are doctors who will put them back together again,” he said.




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