The easiest craft project for health or science teachers tackling the human digestive system is colouring pages, but it definitely isn't the most exciting. Kinesthetic and visual learners need the opportunity to experience the basic concepts of the digestive process hands on. It is possible to incorporate both cooperative learning and individual crafts into human biology lessons about the digestive system.
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Tape a three-foot-wide track, like a bowling lane, across a gym floor or down a hallway. Have students put a selection of foods in a sandwich bag to represent a full stomach. Use candies like M&Ms and skittles that will break down with water. Have students line up in groups of four to six along the lines. Assign each student a role in the digestive process: teeth, saliva, pancreatic juices, small intestine digestion, large intestine digestion and rectum. The teacher will represent the blood and metabolic processes. Explain that the digestive system works like an assembly line, and they will as well. Tell teeth to chew the food by ripping open the bag. Tell the saliva and pancreatic juices to digest the food by spraying them with water. Tell the small intestine to absorb the food by gathering it back into the bag and passing it to the blood. The large intestine should absorb the moisture by using a sponge to sop up the remaining water. The rectum should clean up the mess by getting any remaining waste to the dustbin.
Cut and Paste
Give students a sheet of paper that has pictures of the main elements of the digestive system on it. Students should be able to identify each organ by sight before completing this activity. Have students colour the elements and cut them out. Then have students glue the organs inside an empty body silhouette on a second prepared sheet of paper. Students should assemble the digestive system in the correct order, and should be able to label each part.
Photographic Book Covers
Have students go online to research and print photos of different sections of the digestive system. Pictures should be enlarged to 200 per cent and printed off in colour. Have students find medical grade photos for a more scientific final project. Print the images on sheets of paper, and tape them to a book to form a book cover. To enlarge the project, assign specific digestive system parts to different students and have them lay multiple books out together to form a complete digestive track on the floor or a long table.
How Food Travels Yarn Craft
Have students trace their body on a large sheet of paper, cut from a paper roll. Have students measure the depth of their mouth and cut a piece of string that long. On average this will be 3 inches. Tape the string to the traced body at approximately the location of the mouth. Label beside the string what it represents and how long it is, for example "Mouth: 3 inches." Repeat the process of measuring, cutting a representative string, and labelling for each section of the digestive system. Include the oesophagus, stomach, small intestine and large intestine. For parts of the body that cannot be physically measured, students should research the average length and cut a string that matches the human average. The finished string-craft digestive track can be decorated with markers and crayons and hung along a classroom wall or hallway.
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