Do you really want to show your students what digestion looks like? Do you want really interesting digestion demonstrations? These hands-on digestion demonstrations are extremely simple to do and show clearly what happens to food between the time it enters your mouth until it passes into your small intestine. The student reactions are great and when they’re done your course, they may forget many things, but they will never forget the crackers & the bread in the bag demonstrations!
In Part 1 I will cover Digestion Demonstration #1 – Crackers in the mouth
When you are done please check out Human Digestion Demonstration Part 2 – The Bread In The Bag
Digestion Demonstration #1 – Crackers in the mouth
Materials: Everyday crackers (2 per student)
This demonstration shows how your saliva a) works to break apart the bonds holding the cracker together and b) mixes with the food to produce a swallowable material.
Step 1 – Put a regular cracker into your mouth and chew. Record what it tastes like? Was it sweet? Plain? Hard? Soft? Etc.
Step 2 – Place a new cracker in your mouth and let it sit for 1.5 minutes before chewing and answer the following questions (number 2 should be answered at the 1-minute mark).
Observations – 1) What does it feel like initially? 2) What it feels like after 1 minutes in your mouth 3) What it feels like after 1.5 minutes in your mouth 4) What it feels like when you chew it?
What was the main texture (feeling) difference in your mouth between chewing right away and waiting 1.5 minutes before chowing down?
If you are interested in a really engaging, hands-on and simply to use lab station activity to go along with your lesson, please CLICK HERE or the image below to learn more.
Ask your students how mechanical digestion is shown in this demonstration as well.
When the cracker is in your mouth, your saliva starts to break the bonds holding the cracker together as well as mix with it. This makes the cracker softer and easier to swallow. The act of chewing is the mechanical digestion as chewing helps to break the cracker into smaller pieces so that it’s easier to swallow. If your class advanced, you can mention that breaking something into smaller pieces also increases the surface area, therefore, makes chemical digestion more efficient.
I have performed this demonstration many times and I’m telling you, the kids love it! They are totally grossed out, but they love it.
This activity, as well as others, are found within my Human Digestion Lesson which can be found HERE. If you enjoy the activity please check it out.
Click here to be directed to Part 2 of this post where I explain a demonstration which shows digestion in the remainder of the body
This activity can also be found within my Biology Unit – Cells and Body Systems Click HERE for a preview.
Teach With Fergy
AWESOME! I wish I had thought of this when I was teaching in Portugal! Such an easy thing to do and no need for fancy equipment. Teaching Science in Portugal can be painfully hard since we do not have the infrastructures and resources to do it well. I tried to do as much as I could but most teachers just resorted to the text manual and worksheets. It made it quite boring. I remember that the kids really enjoyed my classes, whenever I did interesting things, but I must confess that the logistics were really hard to deal with. However, ideas like this one, would be so easy to implement…. Thank you for sharing!
Teach With Fergy saysat
Thank you so much! If you liked the cracker demo, wait until the you see the bread in the bag one, I think it’s better.