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4.1: Planning

Difficulty Level: At Grade Created by: CK-12
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Key Ideas

  • Digestion involves the physical and chemical breakdown of food into nutrients used by the body.
  • Physical breakdown of food includes chewing food in the mouth, churning food materials in the stomach, and peristalsis within the stomach and intestines.
  • Chemical breakdown of food occurs through enzyme action that breaks down large complex food molecules into small simple nutrients that are absorbed primarily in the intestines.


Students take an imaginary voyage through the digestive system to experience the anatomy and physiology of digestion. They begin their journey in the mouth. Students learn about the digestive action of the enzyme salivary amylase on carbohydrates. They continue their journey from the mouth down the esophagus, entering the stomach. Students learn how proteins are first digested in the stomach, through the action of stomach acid and enzymes, to form chyme.



identify the major regions of the digestive system.

describe the digestive action of enzymes in the mouth and stomach.

demonstrate and explain the role enzymes play in the digestive process.

identify where each enzyme is produced and describe its function.

explain how food moves along the food tube.


amylase, chyme, enzyme, esophagus, gastrointestinal tract, glucose, mucus, peristalsis, saliva

Student Materials

Activity 3-1: Digestive Enzyme in Action

  • Activity Report
  • Milk, regular and lactose-free; Glucose test strips (4); Lactase tablets (2); Two small beakers; Masking tape

Teacher Materials

Activity 3-1: Digestive Enzyme in Action

  • Activity Report Answer Key
  • Model or chart of the digestive system; Glucose solution; Extra student supplies

Advance Preparation

See Activity 3-1 in the Student Edition.

Activity 3-1: Digestive Enzyme in Action

  • Purchase glucose test strips and lactase enzyme tablets (Lactaid) from drugstore.
  • Purchase milk and lactose-free milk from the grocery store.

Interdisciplinary Connections

Health Discuss what constitutes good dental health.

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