Human Body - Week 9 - Digestive System Activity

Week 9: We made a model of the digestive system.

Digestion is a messy process, and so was this project. The Fabulous Fifth Grade posted a digestive system activity that went well with the book The Way We Work by David Macaulay which we have been using as a guide for our human body science study.

As food travels through the digestive system it is broken down into ingredients our bodies can use. The process begins in the mouth when teeth crush food and saliva is used to begin the breakdown process. From there it travels through the esophagus into the stomach. In the stomach, acid is added to the food, and mashing continues with the stomach muscles. Next it travels into the duodenum where bile juice from the gall bladder and pancreatic juice from the pancreas are added to breakdown fats and carbohydrates. Then the long journey through the small intestine begins followed by a trip to the colon and out of the body.

After completing the activity below, we found this Healthline video that goes well with the lesson.

First we laid out a model of the digestive system.

The bowl with the crackers = mouth and food
Leg of pantyhose = esophagus
Waist of pantyhose = stomach
Glass of vinegar and lemon juice = stomach acid used in digestion
Short second leg of pantyhose = duodenum
Blue yarn = 20 feet of small intestine
Separate section of pantyhose = colon
Avocado = gall bladder
Shot glass of lime juice = bile made in the liver and stored in the gall bladder
Green glass beads = pancreas
Shot glass of tomato juice = pancreatic juice

Then we put it to work!

The crackers were crushed with the fork "teeth" with added water "saliva".

 The mixture was sent into the esophagus and to the stomach.

 Acid was added.

The mixture was mashed. 

As it entered the duodenum bile and pancreas juice were added, and it was mashed some more. 

Since our small intestine was made of 20 feet of yarn that's where our project ended, but they could see what was going to happen next................ The colon!

Come back next week when we explore the liver.

This post is linked to:
Look What We Did
Fourth Grade Flipper
Montessori Monday
Relentlessly Fun
Trivium Tuesdays
Hip Homeschool Hop
True Aim Education


  1. I love how hands-on your projects are.

  2. What a fascinating hands on activity on the digestive system!

  3. I've seen people use the pantyhose to represent the esophagus, but I love continuing and using the whole thing for the whole digestive system.

  4. Girl, I went all over your blog and then forgot to look at the post you had linked to the classical link-up. This looks great I'll have to pin it for when we swing back around to Life Science in 3 years. ;D

    1. Oh that's funny. I'm always getting distracted on the internet too. I'm glad you had fun exploring.

  5. That is a great project. It really gives a visual of how digestion happens.

    1. My dad always tells me the more senses that are involved in learning, the better the topic is remembered. :)

  6. Ewww, but fun! I think I'd stop on the model making phase :) Thanks for sharing with Afterschool!

  7. You do such a good job of making learning hands - on - thanks so much for sharing at After School!

  8. That is SUCH a better use for pantyhose! I love that the hose became the esophagus and stomach. Incredibly clever and something your kiddos are bound to remember. Thanks so much for sharing this at the After School Linky. I'm featuring this tomorrow on my blog at this week's party. Stop by and link up more!

  9. Awesome activity! I love your kids faces in some of those pictures. I'm sure they had a blast =)

  10. Love the hands on digestive system! Featuring you this week on Mom's Library!

  11. We made a digestive system with wool, sharpies and paper but next time we will definitely do this! Hands-on learning makes things so much more memorable.


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