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Inside Out

Look into the digestive system as you imagine what happens to your favorite foods after you eat them.

  • Grade 2
    Grade 3
    Grade 4
  • 30 to 60 minutes
  • Directions

    1. Invite students to study X-ray paintings by Australian aboriginal peoples in "Native Arts of North America, Africa, and the South Pacific" or other resources. Then imagine what the insides of bodies are like after a favorite meal: appetizer, salad, main course, side dishes, dessert, and a drink. Allow time for a student discussion. Then students will create a visual.
    2. With bright colors of Crayola® Crayons, draw a large body outline. Use a white crayon to fill the interior with outlines of favorite food shapes. Complete the drawing with crayon, adding details such as facial features and clothing. Color all the lines heavily.
    3. Students cover their work areas with recycled newspaper. With Crayola Watercolors, cover the entire drawing. The waxy crayon will "pop" through the painted surface, and the white crayon produces an X-ray effect. Dry.
    4. To add a sparkling touch, outline the food with Crayola Washable Glitter Glue. Dry.
    5. In small groups, students discuss their artwork and what is going on inside of their bodies when they eat.
  • Standards

    LA: Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.

    LA: Use information gained from illustrations (e.g., maps, photographs) and the words in a text to demonstrate understanding of the text.

    LA: Read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, in the grade level text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.

    LA: Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience in an organized manner, using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace.

    SCI: Design and conduct an investigation to gather evidence to support explanations that the body is a system of interacting subsystems composed of groups of cells working to form tissues and organs specialized for particular body functions, and that scientific advances in understanding of those systems have led to improvements in nutrition, health, and medicine.

    VA: Use visual structures of art to communicate ideas.

    VA: Select and use subject matter, symbols, and ideas to communicate meaning.

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resources include: The Lucky Escape: An Imaginative Journey Through the Digestive System by Dr. Heather Manley; The Digestive System by Jennifer Prior; Guts: Our Digestive System by Seymour Simon; The Magic School Bus Inside the Human Body by Joanna Cole

    Working in small groups, students investigate recipes for healthy meals. Students create 3-D models of each food to be included in the meal using Crayola Model Magic. Members of the group need to be prepared to defend food selections and explain to classmates how these foods come together to create a well-balanced meal.

    Invite a nutritionist to speak with students about healthy eating and how the food is broken down in the digestive system. Prior to the visit, students compose questions for the guest. After the meeting, students post new learning to a class blog.

    In 1982, two doctors — Barry Marshall and Robin Warren — discovered a certain kind of bacteria that can live and grow in the stomach. The medical name for these bacteria is Helicobacter pylori (or H. pylori, for short). Today doctors know that most peptic ulcers are caused by an infection from H. pylori. Students investigate how an ulcer is formed and how its presence interferes with the digestion of food in the human body.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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