Digestive System Essentials
essential information on the digestive system for educators, including an explanation of the roles of organs, glands, hormones and nerves in the digestion process and a discussion of the most common problems of the digestive tract.
Your Digestive System offers a brief
introduction by a medical doctor. Inner Body offers a more in-depth look at the anatomy and physiology of the human digestive system.
Learn more about
different types of digestive systems typically found in invertebrate and vertebrate animals.
Support materials for these resources include background reading, discussion questions and teachers' guides.
Investigate the Digestive System: Sid the Science Kid, K-2 students learn what happens during digestion. Resources include a full lesson plan where students make a model of a stomach to simulate how our bodies break down food. You'll find a hands-on experiment, a digestion song (part 6), and a video demonstration of real students engaged in the investigation.
For secondary students,
The Digestive System: Crash Course is an entertaining, concise and informative summary of the process of digestion.
For middle school and up, check out this this three-part series where an internal camera transmits photos and videos as it travels from the beginning of the body's digestive system to the end.
Ruminants, students learn that animals like cattle, sheep, goats and giraffes have a digestive system that is highly efficient but very different from our own.
Lesson Plans and Classroom Activities
KidsHealth has a section titled
Your Digestive System to use with students, which includes a helpful slideshow. You'll find teachers' guides and lesson plans for grades K-2, grades 3-5, and grades 6-8. Other resources include a fun video, quiz and printable worksheet.
Elementary School Science offers
Digestive System Lesson Plan: How It All Goes Down that includes handouts and worksheets.
Teach Engineering has Digestive System lesson plans for
grade 5 and grade 7 that address not only how digestion works, but the topics of digestion in outer space and biomedical engineering.
Digestion: The Fascinating Journey from Start to Finish is a series of lessons designed for 2nd-4th grades.
The Utah Education Network has developed lesson plans that investigate the
chemical process of digestion and the journey through the digestive system with the Magic School Bus.
There are many engaging, hands-on lessons where students make a model of the digestive system, using simple materials such as juice, “mushable” foods, ziplock bags and stockings. Take a look at these teacher-tested ideas from
Science Journal For Kids, Science Fix and 123ForMe, which also provides accompanying worksheets. Another model-based investigation offers additional experiments for elementary students demonstrating peristalsis and the relative lengths of each organ of the digestive system.
collection of hands-on activities for middle grades teaches students about the processes and organs involved in digestion.
North Carolina Division of Public Health, this lesson plan designed for 4th grade includes visuals, worksheets and experiments.
digestive system demonstration illustrates the absorption activity of the intestines. You may want to check out these additional ideas from classroom teachers for whole-class digestive system activities.
Online activities such as this
digestion quiz, a labeling activity for younger students, or this digestive system interactive for older kids may be used with your classroom smartboard or with individual student devices.
Do you need digestive system worksheets? Find printable worksheets identifying digestion
organs and the functions of each part. Easy Science for Kids has a combination quiz and word search printable.
You may want to try this
life-size craft activity or this scrap-item craft activity to make 3-D posters of the human digestive system using simple props.
Science World museum suggests a fun
outdoor activity using an obstacle course to simulate the digestive system.
More Resources for Educators
Brittanica Kids has a good student text selection, animation, and instructional slides on human and animal digestion. Enchanted Learning offers a full glossary of digestion-related vocabulary.
Some good resources for teaching the digestive system include these videos:
DK Find Out has a useful
interactive with detailed illustrations and images of each organ in the digestive system.
Wonderopolis is a good place to send curious kids who have questions, such as
How Do You Digest Food?, What Do Your Intestines Do?, What Makes Your Stomach Growl? or Do Cows Really Have Four Stomachs?
Study Jams: Digestive System from Scholastic includes a slideshow about the functions of the digestive system and a quiz.
It can be fun for students to learn about other
animals' digestive systems. Digestion Facts for Kids includes a discussion of specialized physical and behavioral adaptations that aid various animals in the digestion of their food. Studying owl pellets can be an engaging way to understand the digestion activities of owls.