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Myers Fourth Graders Go Bananas for Digestion Experiment

dr. scriven helping students(October 30, 2023) Students in Nancy Bianchinni’s fourth grade class and Superintendent Dr. Brian Scriven participated in an experiment to learn about digestion. Students dressed in surgical gowns, hairnets and goggles to begin their experiment. 

Materials for the experiment included a banana and crackers to represent food, orange juice for stomach acid, water for saliva, a Ziploc bag to represent the stomach, a metal tray to represent the body, stockings for the small intestine, plastic and paper cups, and scissors. 

The objective of the experiment was for students to understand that the human body needs to break down food in order to absorb the nutrients it needs. The aim of the experiment was for students to answer the essential question “How do the parts of the digestive system work together to give our bodies energy?” 

To begin, students put the banana and crackers in the ziploc bag to demonstrate swallowing. Then they introduced stomach acid and saliva by adding their orange juice and water in small increments to the Ziploc bag. They then mimicked the action of the stomach by squeezing the bag to mix the contents. Next, they transferred the food into the small intestine using the plastic cup as a funnel. As they squeezed the food through the stocking, all the “nutrients” needed for growth and energy flowed into the tray which represents the body. Anything left in the stocking represented what the body could not digest. When the “waste” solidified, students transferred it into the paper cup with a small hole at the bottom to represent the large intestine. They used the other paper cup to push the waste through the small hole, which mimicked the act of expelling waste. 

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