The processes involved in the digestive system are fascinating. It's an ongoing science experiment that's always in motion.
The Parts of the Digestive System
Digestion is a complicated process. The food you swallow and eat goes through a series of chemical reactions. While the order of steps is logical (from mouth to stomach to the intestines, etc.), what happens at each step can be tricky. Scroll over the labels below to see what happens during each step.
Resources for Teaching the Digestive System for Kids
The human body is one of the first things that is taught in elementary school. There are numerous resources available to use in teaching the human body. Here are a few top picks for books, DVDs and websites.
Books that Teach About the Digestive System
- Guts: All About Our Digestive System--This is one of the better picture books on the digestive system. Lifelike illustrations give you a realistic view of the inside of your digestive track.
- From Chewing to Pooing : Food's Journey Through Your Body to the Potty--Designed for young children, this book explains what happens in the digestive system with fun rhymes and simple illustrations. The book also contains a section with tips from a pediatrician for parents about healthy digestion.
- Do You Know Where My Food Goes?--This is a great, rhyming resource for children and the adults who are teaching them. Well-done illustrations of the digestive system help students understand what's going on.
- The Quest to Digest-- This is a humorous look at what happens to the food we eat. Cartoons illustrate each step for kids.
DVDs for Teaching the Digestive System
- The Standard Deviants School Human Nutrition Part 2 The Digestive System--This video is the classroom addition but will teach tweens and teens the ins and outs of the digestive system.
- The Magic School Bus: The Human Body-- Follow Ms. Frizzle and the class as they tour the human body.
Resources on the Web for Teaching the Digestive System
- Kids Health.org does an excellent job of presenting the basics of the digestive system in a way that kids can understand.
- BioNinja has an excellent picture of the digestive system with clearly labeled parts.
- ExploreLearning allows kids to put the insides of a body together and watch the path food takes. The site also gives some good information on the basics of the digestive system.
Planning Your Teaching
Start to teach the digestive system by reading a well illustrated book. Move on to hands-on activities that help students understand complicated processes like how enzymes break down food and move onto a culminating activity such as a report or project. Introducing the concepts repeatedly in a variety of ways is the best way to get kids to understand and master the digestive system.