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Biology Extraordinaires: Year 3 learn about digestion

Another fantastic practical science lesson with Mrs Sullivan as the Year 3 children to explore what happened to food during digestion by using some scientific equipment and some everyday items to model the digestive system.

They started off with their incisor teeth (a knife) chopping up a banana. Then used their back teeth (a pestle and mortar) to chew and grind some cracker biscuits, adding a few squirts of saliva (a pipette of water) as they “chewed” to moisten their food.

Next stop was the stomach (strong zip lock bag) where their meal was washed down with a cup of water. They squeezed and squelched their stomachs to help break down any large lumps into a soft and lumpy liquid. The children enjoyed this part, but they still had more fun to come . . .

Their meal journeyed on into the small intestine (some tights) where the liquid food dribbled out of their small intestine and went into the blood (plastic tub). The undigested food was squeezed further along into the large intestine (the other end of the tights) where and any remaining water was squeezed out.

“This was the messy bit, and the children really got stuck in. They loved it! The room was filled with excited noises and quite a few cries of “uuccckkkk” and “eeerrggghhhh” could be heard!”

The final port of call was their rectum (a cup with a hole in it’s “bottom” – of course!). The children squidged the stodgy remains of their undigested food from their intestines into the cup. This was then given a final squeeze to push it out of the “bottom” of the cup into the toilet (the tub).

“Children, in fact people of all ages, learn by doing things” said Mrs Sullivan “The sights, smell, touch and sounds that they experience with this experiment helps the children to visualize the process of digestion and learn about the parts of the body involved. Later they can recall the facts more easily due to their enhanced memories of the events.” “Of course, it is also tremendous fun, and that always helps when it comes to learning!”