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Digestive System

This page authored by Jim Bidlack, University of Central Oklahoma, based on original activities by American Diabetes Association, Rick Gillis, University of Wisconsin - La Crosse, and Melissa Pickering, Innerbody Direct
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This page first made public: Aug 17, 2010

This material is replicated on a number of sites as part of the SERC Pedagogic Service Project

Summary

Discussion, along with artistic representations, are used to help participants understand the purpose of the digestive system, understand how food is broken down and prepared for absorption, and list the components of the digestive system as well as their functions.


Learning Goals

  • Explain the purpose of the digestive system and its relation to other systems of the body.
  • Understand how food is mechanically and chemically reduced by the components of the digestive system.
  • List and describe different components of the digestive system.

Context for Use

This teaching strategy provides a one-hour presentation, with artistic representations to better understand the purpose, structure, and function of the digestive system and its components.

Description and Teaching Materials

  1. Explain the purpose of the digestive system (ingestion of food and preparation for absorption).
  2. Ask participants to discuss the digestive system and how it works with other systems (such as the circulatory system by providing nutrients that need to be transported) to facilitate bodily functions.
  3. Discuss the meaning of nutrition and how intake, digestion, absorption, and utilization are needed for food to be processed and converted to energy.
  4. Starting with a median section of the head and neck, explain how mechanical and chemical reduction of food is initiated in the mouth. See http://www.merlot.org/merlot/viewMaterial.htm?id=482993
  5. Trace the path of food through major parts of the digestive system, including the mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, rectum, and anus. For simplified visualizations, See http://www.merlot.org/merlot/viewMaterial.htm?id=482993 and for more detail, see http://www.merlot.org/merlot/viewMaterial.htm?id=482595
  6. Examine components of the endocrine system, in particular, the pancreas. See http://www.merlot.org/merlot/viewMaterial.htm?id=86608
  7. Engage participants to discuss how different secretions assist the digestive system in breaking down food into smaller particles and assist in the mechanisms through which nutrients are absorbed and utilized.
  8. Discuss the role of insulin and glucagon in the role of digestion and explain how diabetes can affect utilization of food. See http://www.merlot.org/merlot/viewMaterial.htm?id=89574

Supporting Files:

Teaching Notes and Tips

This teaching strategy provides discussion, as well as artistic representations of the components of the digestive system. The introductory discussion helps students appreciate and understand nutrition and how food is converted to energy. Further discussion helps student learn about the parts and functions of components of the digestive system. Incorporation of artistic representations from learning sites, interspersed during discussion, helps participants keep actively engaged in the learning experience.

Assessment

Participants may be tested on their comprehension of this learning material through multiple choice, short-answer, or essay exams. A few example questions are embedded in this Activiey Sheet, entitled "Questions – Digestive System."

References and Resources

MERLOT description and link to "American Diabetes Association," which provides user-friendly information about diabetes and how it relates to the digestive system. See http://www.merlot.org/merlot/viewMaterial.htm?id=89574

MERLOT description and link to "Anatomy of the Digestive System," which shows artistic representations for different parts of the digestive system. See http://www.merlot.org/merlot/viewMaterial.htm?id=482993

MERLOT description and link to "Human Anatomy: Digestive System," which shows artistic representations and descriptions for different parts of the digestive system. See http://www.merlot.org/merlot/viewMaterial.htm?id=482595

MERLOT description and link to "Human Anatomy: Endocrine System," which provides an overview of the components of the endocrine system and, in particular, the pancreas and its role in secreting insulin and glucagon. See http://www.merlot.org/merlot/viewMaterial.htm?id=86608