Greetings Museum of Health Care Friends! In light of ongoing efforts to limit the transmission of COVID-19, this activity has been modified from the original version for offsite, home use. (Normally, this activity is completed as part of the “Yum Yum Munch” education program offered at the Museum of Healthcare at Kingston.)
Students will apply their knowledge of body systems to reconstruct the four stages of the digestive system. Students will use this interactive exercise to explore how several organs interact to absorb nutrients vital to individual health from their daily dietary selections.
Pre-Activity: Are you really what you eat?
Has anyone ever told you “you are what you eat”? Well it turns out they are right!
All food has something in it called nutrients, which you need to help you stay healthy and grow. The digestive system is what takes those nutrients from your food and gives them to your body to stay healthy. The digestive system has four parts to it, let’s learn what they are together!
Step 1is to eat your yummy food! This is called ingestion. Step 2 is called digestion. After you eat your food, your body mashes it into smaller pieces and uses chemicals to help. Step 3 is called absorption. Now your body soaks up all of the nutrients from your food and gives it to your body to stay healthy. Step 4 is called egestion or elimination. After your get all the nutrients you need, you don’t need the leftover food anymore. The food gets called waste and leaves the next time you go to the bathroom!
What tools do you use to eat? You probably use a fork, knife, spoon or maybe your hands to eat a snack or meal. Did you know that your body has its own tools that it uses to get nutrients from your food and help your food go through the digestive system? Here’s a few tools and what they do!
Mouth: The mouth uses teeth to mash up food, and saliva to break down chemicals in your food to make it mushy.
Saliva: This is the fancy word for spit. It’s made of water and chemicals that start breaking down food before it goes down to the stomach.
Stomach: The stomach mixes all the small balls of food that came down the mouth into even smaller pieces.
Stomach Acid: This is a liquid in your stomach that uses chemicals to break down food into smaller pieces. Small Intestine: This is where the broken-down food goes after the stomach. It takes the nutrients out of food so your body can use them.
Activity: Create your own digestive system !
Come along on a tour through the digestive system! Read the steps below and use these supplies to create your own digestive system, and find out what mushy gushy things your body gets into after every snack you eat.
Supplies Your Will Need
- Orange Juice – Stomach Acid
- Water – Saliva
- Crackers or Bread – Food
- Banana – Food
- Large Bowl – Body
- 2 Plastic or Paper Cups – Large Intestine + Funnel
- Zip Lock Bag – Stomach
- 1 leg from a pair of tights – Small Intestine
1) The zip lock bag shows how our stomach swallows the food that we eat. Put the crackers or bread, and the banana into the bag.
2) Add the orange juice and water to the bag. The orange juice acts like the acid in our stomach, and the water acts as the saliva. The acid and saliva help break down the food we eat in our stomach.
3) Close the zip lock bag shut and start to squash all of the food in the bag with your hands. Your hands show how our stomach walls mash food together and break it into small pieces.
4) Next, put your tights in your large bowl to catch any spills. Take your plastic cup and cut the bottom off to make a funnel. Slip your plastic cup, bottom end first, into the open end of your tights to make a funnel.
5) When your tights are in your bowl, open your zip lock bag and carefully pour the food down your funnel and into the tights. Your tights are like the small intestines, and this shows us how food goes from the stomach and into the small intestines.
6) Next, use your hands to squeeze the food down the intestines to the opposite end of the tights. Make sure all the liquid that is squeezed out goes into the bowl.
The liquid squeezed out of the small intestines show us how all of the healthy nutrients we need to grow and stay healthy get soaked up into the rest of the body.
7) The ball of hard food leftover at the end of your tights acts like the food that we can’t digest. This food turns into waste, and can only leave after pushed it out of our bodies by going to the toilet.
Put your thinking cap on!
Thanks for coming along this tour of the digestive system! Think back to your favorite foods to eat. Do you think your body gets all the nutrients it needs for energy and growth from your favorite foods? Or do you think your favorite foods mostly end up in the waste pile after going through your digestive system?
Need some inspiration! Here are some historical examples!
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About the Authour
(Public Programs Assistant, Summer 2020)
Meaghan recently completed an undergraduate degree in history at Queen’s University, with plans to return to Queen’s in the fall to begin her Bachelor’s of Education! Her main areas of interest include the history of the United Kingdom of Great Britain, and the history of psychiatric medicine. Meaghan’s experience of quarantine during the COVID19 pandemic has allowed her to expand her cooking skills, and discover the many hiking locations that Kingston and the surrounding region has to offer.