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Science Saturday – Digestive System Experiments

Are you studying anatomy and physiology? Visit all the Science Saturday posts for great lesson ideas.

I have to admit. The kids had a little more fun studying the digestive system (Apologia Human Anatomy and Physiology)  than I thought they were going to have. While my 6th grade daughter is actually the one taking the course, my 2nd grade son got into the activities we did – mainly because of the gross factor. I mean spit, churned up food and poop. What more can a boy ask for? yuck.

This lesson was full of fun hands-on projects for the kids to do. Each one really made an impression on the kids. You should hear our lunchtime digestions conversation. Maybe, they learned too much…

See Amylase In Action

Amylase is a digestive enzyme found in saliva that breaks down starches. We did a simple activity to let the kids actually see and experience the way amylase works.

  1. Put a small piece of saltine on the tongue.
  2. Within seconds you should start to feel the cracker start to dissolve. That is the amylase breaking down the starch in the cracker.
  3. Place a small piece of cheese on the tongue.
  4. After 2o seconds remove the cheese and look at it. Besides being wet, there should be no change. There is no starch in cheese so the amylase had nothing to break down.

Create A Stomach

This is a great project to re-create the churning and breaking down of food that takes place in the stomach.

  1. Place a piece of bread and 2-3 tbsp of water in a Ziploc bag.
  2. Squeeze the bag with the hands simulating the action of the stomach churning food.
  3. Notice how the water and churning turn the piece of bread into an almost liquid form. This is similar to the chyme that is released my the stomach into the small intestine.

Notebooking Journal

The Notebooking Journal that goes with the Apologia Human Anatomy text is a great resource. It makes taking notes, learning and explaining information found in the text fun. Lesson 4 had lots of great activities, but making the digestion system comic was my daughter’s favorite.

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Visit Science Saturday at MeetPenny.com  and see how much fun her kids are having with this lesson.



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    You already had your picture perfectly titled so I didn’t have to type when pinning it, ahhhh laziness, it’s so nice.

    Yes, I am lazy at times. I always find the digestive system experiment both fascinating and gross at the same time. EWWWW

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    Terry says

    You can easily bring this up a notch, even for elementary school. I’m using your “Amylase in Action” portion and incorporating a lab portion. I’ll introduce several different food items for students to test , first have them predict which contain starch and which don’t, then use iodine as an indicator to see if they are correct. Afterwards, I will also have them look up each item to check starch content to verify the accuracy of the testing.


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