Digestive System — It All Starts in the Mouth!

To start off our unit on the digestive system, I had the kids look at a diagram and write down all the parts of the digestive system. That was the first section of the pack I made (more about that below). Then we took a closer look at the mouth.

We did these activities over the course of several days:

I asked the kids what the mouth’s role is in the digestive system. They quickly guessed chewing, but couldn’t go into much more detail than that.

We looked at the role of our teeth… and learned about the different types of teeth we have.  We made “dental impressions” with Model Magic, modeling clay. We looked at the surface area created by our different types of teeth.

Did you know that everyone has a unique dental impression?  We compared impressions — and it was super easy to figure out DD’s impression (she lost her front tooth!!)


I asked them to bite into a carrot and asked them where they put the carrot (in their two front teeth of course except for DD who has no front teeth at the moment!! Yes, she lost the other one! LOL! She enjoyed using our teeth puppet instead! Boy, you should have heard the sound effects… it sounded like a bear going after that carrot. It still makes me chuckle thinking about it!)

  • Incisors: Cut or slice food

  • Canines – tear or rip food. Naturally, we had to look closely at Boomer’s impressive canines!
  • Premolars and Molars – grind the food.
We took a carrot and chewed it a pre-set number of times… 5 times, 10 times and 20 times. Then we spit it out onto a plate. We also chewed a carrot 10 and 20 times while smelling some sweet peppermint candy to see if there was extra saliva!
That ball of food is called a bolus.
We talked quite a bit about saliva.  Saliva has several functions. It is made mostly of water which coats and lubricates the food. It also has enzymes that start to break down the starches. Did you know your body creates 2 quarts of saliva each day!  Whoa!
The kids did this simple activity about the role of saliva — chewing a cracker for two minutes and trying to see if the cracker tasted by the end as the enzymes broke the starch down into sugar. They also smashed a cracker and added water to see the role of liquid in creating a nice gooey glob to swallow and compared it to the “unchewed” cracker. You could also compare a chewed and spit-out cracker to one just with added water, but we didn’t do that.
We read this great/gross book called Hawk and Drool.  The kids loved it! It had gross facts like — nearly 100,000 droplets of mucousy saliva comes spewing out when you sneeze!
Here is a shot of the packet I made about the Digestive System — Mouth. Click on the picture to download.
NOTE: We are moving to homeschoolden.com. We will be moving all of our printables there.
By the way, if you’re studying the mouth you might want to do this cute activity we did last year about the importance of brushing your teeth. Click on the picture for more details:

And as always, if you found this helpful I’d love to hear from you either below or at my Homeschool Den Facebook Page.  I keep a running list of all our posts there at the Homeschool Den Facebook Page. It’s a good place to visit if you’ve missed some of our recent posts because it gives you a quick synopsis and the direct link to that post.
Related Posts That Might Interest You (We are moving to homeschoolden.com):

  • Choking, An Important Lesson for the Kids - A lesson about swallowing, the epiglottis and performing abdominal thrusts. Make your own (moveable) epiglottis with the printout to show how food is prevented from entering the windpipe:

Check out our other science units and freebies:

  • Rocks and Minerals: Free 25 page packet, free pages on the 3-types of rocks, lots of hands on activities
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  1. [...] Digestive System: It All Starts in the Mouth: Another free download pack about the mouth/teeth — and various hands-on activities. [...]

  2. [...] Digestive track Worksheet and Practical Activity - How long is the digestive track? http://www.parents.com/blogs/homeschool-den/2013/04/08/science/digestive-system-it-all-starts-in-the… [...]

  3. [...] Digestive System: It All Starts in the Mouth: Another free download pack about the mouth/teeth — and various hands-on activities. [...]

  4. by | The Homeschool Den

    On December 7, 2014 at 5:15 am

    [...] Digestive System: It All Starts in the Mouth: Another free download pack about the mouth/teeth — and various hands-on activities. [...]