Before I was a teacher, I was actually a physiotherapist. As long as I can remember, I was fascinated with how the human body worked so my absolute favourite thing to teach is anything even slightly related to Human Biology!
In Year 4, we learnt about the digestive system and what better way than to do it practically!
This is not a new idea at all and I’ve seen lots of great versions online. We used what Jonathan had for breakfast: a jam sandwich and 2 Weetabix!
Here’s what I used for each stage of the digestive system:
Incisors – bite and cut up the food – scissors.
Molars – grind food into smaller pieces – a potato masher (and who are we kidding – our hands!!)
Saliva – water.
Oesophagus – we made a clear tube out of a laminating pouch and poured our food from our ‘mouth’ (jug) into our ‘stomach’.
Stomach – zippy bag.
We added digestive juices and bile (OJ and coke!) and started to churn the stomach contents up until it was a gloopy mess!
Small intestine – tights – we poured the stomach contents into the tights and saw all the ‘nutrients’ drip into our body (bowl).
Large intestine – absorbent towel – we took the tights and rolled them in the towel so that the water was absorbed.
Rectum – cup – we cut the tights open and squeezed the now more solid, brown ‘faeces’ into our ‘rectum’ (cup). The important thing about the rectum cup is that it needs a hole in the bottom. (You’ll see why in a minute!)
Now for my favourite part – the anus! To make the anus, we took a second cup and, over a bowl of water, for that authentic toilet bowl splash, we push the second cup down into the first cup so that the faces pushed out the hole (anus!)
What a glorious moment that was! I wish I could share with you the videos as the squeals of delight from the children (and, of course, me!) were just brilliant! The plops were magnificent!
I even made some custom aprons for myself and the TAs so that we could show the children throughout where we were in the system.
As well as our science learning, we also used this to write the most spectacular narratives from the point of view from a piece of food travelling through the digestive system!
Really made me smile!