The Teeth:  Tooth Tales of Ripping, Grinding, and Tearing  

Objective: to observe the different ways teeth begin digesting foods 
Student Information: Chewing is the first step in the digestion of food. Baby teeth are called deciduous which means to fall off at maturity. Deciduous teeth cannot grow to fit the adult jaw, so they fall out and are replaced by secondary teeth.  

Teeth are not bones. They are much stronger than bones. Each tooth is made up of four layers: the pulp (containing the nerves and blood vessels), the dentin (the hard inside), the enamel (the tough outer coating) and the cementum (the outer coating of the tooth's roots, which cements the tooth to the gums).  

Types of human teeth: canine (sharp and pointy shapes used for cutting and tearing), incisors (big, flat wedge shapes used for biting food off), bicuspids (two-pointed shapes used for grinding) and molars (flat, squared shapes used for grinding).  

Materials: (for each student)  
samples of foods such as apples, celery, leafy lettuce, nuts, raisins, cereal, pudding, cheese cubes, fruit leathers, peanut butter, prepared gelatin squares  
Procedures: 1.  Have students eat samples of the different types of foods. 

2.  Ask - Did some foods require more chewing than others? Why? Which foods required tearing or grinding? Did any foods require no chewing at all? Why not? 

Assessment: Graphing 
  • On chart paper, create a graph entitled "Teeth Tales" with columns labeled RIPPING, GRINDING, TEARING. 
  • Have the students complete the graph by listing various foods under the correct column.

    Digest This 

    Objective: to describe how the teeth and stomach work together to begin the digestive process 
    Student Information: Your stomach is like a stretchy bag that holds your food after you eat. Your stomach also helps to break your food into smaller pieces so your body can use it. 

    About ten seconds after you swallow your food, it reaches your stomach. Your food reaches your stomach through a tube called your esophagus. Little glands in your stomach make special juices that are waiting for your food. Once your food enters your stomach, your muscles move the walls of your stomach. Your stomach mashes your food the way a baker kneads dough for bread! Your food gets mashed and stirred with the special juices. The juices and the mashing help to break your food into smaller pieces. This process is called digestion.  

    Your stomach has a door in that closes to keep food inside. It keeps food inside to work on for a few hours. Your stomach can stretch out to hold almost two quarts of food! When it has digested your food as much as it can, the door opens and your food travels into your small intestine.  

    When your stomach is empty, it shrinks like a balloon without air. Your stomach is a stretchy storage tank! 

  • chart of the digestive system
  • chunks of potatoes
  • grated potato
  • jars with lids
  • water 

  • Procedures: 1.  Divide the class into  pairs, and give each pair two jars. 

    2.  Put some potato chunks in one jar. Put some grated potato in the other jar. Add water to each jar. Fasten each lid.  

    3.  Students take turns shaking both jars for 10 minutes.  

    4.  Look at the mixture. Discuss what happened to the potato.  

    Assessment: Journal Entry  
  • Where does the body begin to break down food?
  • Why is chewing important?
  • What does your stomach do? 

  • Source: Addison-Wesley

    Your Small Intestine  

    Objective: to identify the function of the small intestine 
    Student Information: Food moves from your stomach into your small intestine. Inside this 20-foot-long tube, juices break the food down into tinier bits. Your small intestine squeezes food along like you squeeze toothpaste through a tube. Tiny hairlike villi cover the inside walls of your small intestine. Villi are like doors in the walls of your intestine. Food goes through the villi and out into your bloodstream. 
  • chart of the digestive system
  • black pepper
  • cups
  • paper towels
  • water 

  • Procedures: Work in pairs. Food has to be tiny to go through the villi. Mix the pepper and water in a cup. Pour it through a paper towel into another cup. What went through the paper towel and what did not? 
    Assessment: Journal Entry 
  • Tell about the small intestine and the villi in your own words. 
  • What do they do to help with digestion?

    Your Large Intestine  

    Objective: to identify the function of the large intestine and review the digestive process 
    Student Information: Your body can't use everything you eat. The things your body doesn't use are wastes. As food is squeezed through your small intestine, useful bits are taken into your bloodstream. Your large intestine gets the rest of the watery mixture.  

    Your large intestine takes out water and other liquids your body can use. Then it squeezes the leftover solid bits of waste called feces out through an opening called the anus. These are the wastes you flush down the toilet. 

  • drawing paper
  • crayons
  • chart of the digestive system labeled with the teeth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine 

  • Procedures: 1. Discuss the function of the large intestine. Use the chart to show the location of the large intestine in relation to the other organs of digestion.  

    2. The students will work in pairs. Using the chart as a reference, students will draw, label and paste in the correct order the parts of the digestive system ( including the teeth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, and large intestine.  

    Assessment: Journal Entry  
    1.  What are wastes? What does the large intestine squeeze out of the wastes? Where does the large intestine push the wastes?  
    2.  Using the chart, tell what happens during the digestive process. Begin with the teeth.)  
    Remember to add the digestive system to your paper body.
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    Henry County Public Schools
    This integrated instructional unit was designed by teachers of the:
    Henry County School System
    396 Tomlinson Street
    McDonough, Georgia 30253
    Telephone:  770/957-6601

     Updated 4/19/98