Friday, July 24, 2015

The Digestive System for Kids

The Digestive System

We were driving to the grocery store, and M starts telling me about a science experiment that involves crackers, coke and a ziplock bag. She tells me that she wants to try this experiment and learn about the stomach. Well, you don't turn down a kid when they ask to learn something new, right?? So we added coke to the grocery list and I started researching as soon as we got home.

The next day, I cut and sorted the Internal Organ cards I bought from Pinay Homeschooler (I usually stick to free cards or make my own, but these were well worth the $1.50 for the nice images and definitions) while M watched a short video about the digestive system on Brain Pop, Jr.

I gave M the nomenclature cards and a blank anatomy coloring sheet and we talked about how the food we eat passes through the body. We matched the cards to the organs on the coloring sheet, and M colored the different organs when we were done. 

Next, we matched the pictures and definitions from the Pinay organ set to make a mini booklet. M read the booklet (with very little help from me!) and then traced the names of the organs on the corresponding organ cards.

Now it was time to act out the process of digestion! Little Blossoms has a great post that we followed for the investigation.

First the teeth chew the crackers. M used her fists as molars to crush the crackers.

Now we need some saliva! Spray a little water into the bag and keep crushing to form a bolus.

The bolus moves from the pharynx into the esophagus. Waves of muscle contractions squeeze the bolus down the esophagus. M used her hands to squeeze the "bolus" down the "esophagus" (aka ballet tights).

Now it gets to the stomach, where gastric juices in the stomach break down the food chemically. We added coke ("stomach acid") to the cracker/water mixture in the bag.

Next, the digested food moves into the small intestines. We learned that the small intestines are actually 20 feet long! We measured 20 feet of yarn and stretched it across the apartment to get a visual of how long that really is. Then we coiled the "intestines" to see how the could fit inside our bodies.

Here's the "stomach" connected to the "small intestines." M liked running her finger along the yarn like a maze to see how far the digested food had to travel.

We took a break to review the organ cards for the pancreas and liver to see how they contribute to the digestive system. Since Daddy is diabetic, M had lots of questions about how the pancreas contributes to the digestive system. We talked about how Daddy's pump helps his body since his pancreas doesn't do it's job.

We looked back at the coloring sheet to see where the large intestine was, and to find the anus - the end of the digestive system. (M thought this part was a little too gross to act out.)

While I put the baby down for a nap, M reviewed her organ booklet, and matched up all of the 3-part cards.

We borrowed the book Quest to Digest (affiliate link) from the library, and M enjoyed looking at the pictures and learning some new details about the organs that make up the digestive system. In the picture on the right, she's using a hand mirror to locate her uvula in the back of her throat.

This was a really fun lesson, and I have a feeling it will lead to more anatomy investigations in the near future!

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