Let’s Make Poop

What really happens to those vegetables after you eat them?

We all eat food and we all have to poop! Poop is just the leftovers from what we eat after nutrients and some water are removed by our digestive system. But how does our food actually become poop?

In this activity, you will make a model of how poop exits the body.

Objectives:
-Model what happens to food in the intestines
-Describe the process of digestion

Key Vocabulary:
-absorb, bile, gastric, acid, rectum

Background:

  • The digestive system is a series of organs that processes all the food we eat.
  • Digestion is all about breaking food down into smaller and smaller pieces so that we can extract nutrients.
  • Digestion starts in the mouth where teeth and tongue work to chomp the food and make it small and swallowable.
  • The food goes through the esophagus into the stomach, which makes gastric juices, which are very acidic and help break down all the food
  • The food then enters the small intestines to be broken down further by digestive enzymes from the liver, pancreas and gallbladder so the body can get all the nutrients into the blood
  • After that, it goes through the large intestine. The job of the large intestine is to remove water from undigested matter and form solid waste that can be excreted
  • Bacteria in the colon help to digest the remaining food products
  • The rectum is where feces are stored until they leave the digestive system through the anus as a bowel movement.
Making Poop at our Family Learning Event: Healthy Choices!

Nutrition:

  • Fiber is an important part of maintaining a healthy digestive system. There are two kinds of fiber:
    • Soluble fiber dissolves in water. It helps lower cholesterol and improve blood sugar control.
    • Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water. It helps with constipation.
  • Insoluble fibers are needed so the intestines have something to grab onto and push through
  • If it is difficult to push the food waste through, you can become constipated, which can lead to lots of health problems or issues later in life
  • Foods with lots of fiber include whole grains (in breads, pastas etc.), fruits and vegetables, and beans.

For more information about nutrition for parents, children and educators, please see https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/fiber.html

Check it out!

Image result for The Lucky Escape: An Imaginative Journey Through the Digestive System (Human Body Detectives)

Follow Merrin and Pearl as they try to find a penny their brother just swallowed!

Poop is used for so many things!

Materials:

  • 1 knee-high stocking
  • One packet of instant oatmeal (about 1/3 cup), any flavor
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • water
  • bowl
  • plate

Key Questions

Activity Plan

  1. Add the cocoa and oatmeal to a bowl and stir to combine
  2. Slowly add water 1tsp at a time, stirring until the mixture becomes a semi-solid mass that is slightly watery
  3. Using a spoon, transfer the mixture into the knee-high stocking
  4. With your hands, squeeze the knee-high (from the top down) so the mixture goes to the end of the stocking
  5. Once the cocoa mixture is at the end of the stocking, squeeze the mixture so that the “water” drips out into the bowl
  6. Turn what’s left in the stocking out onto the plate
  7. Discuss how squeezing the water represented what our large intestine does to our food waste to get it ready to be eliminated as feces.

As with all activities, adult supervision may be required.

Follow-Up Questions

  • What happens when you eat something?
  • What is the job of the large intestine?

Extension Activities

  • Oatmeal has lots of fiber so it is a great way to show what a healthy poop might look like. Try the experiment with other foods to see the results.

NGSS Connections (Life Science)

Disciplinary Core IdeaConnect It!
LS1.A: Structure and Function All organisms have external parts. Different animals use their body parts in different ways to see, hear, grasp objects, protect themselves, move from place to place, and seek, find, and take in food, water and air. Plants also have different parts (roots, stems, leaves, flowers, fruits) that help them survive and grow. (1-LS1-1) Compare and contrast the different types of things animals and humans like to eat. Why do some animals eat different things? What are the health benefits of different kinds of foods?
LS1.A: Structure and Function Plants and animals have both internal and external structures that serve various functions in growth, survival, behavior, and reproduction. (4-LS1-1) What are the internal structures that are involved in a human’s digestion process?
LS4.D: Biodiversity and Humans Populations live in a variety of habitats, and change in those habitats affects the organisms living there. (3-LS4-4)