Digestive System

by carolinastaff
digestive system

Digestive System

Hungry? Is your stomach making noises? Did you catch a whiff of fresh cut fruit, and now your mouth is watering?

Then your digestive system is primed and ready to go to work breaking down food into smaller molecules so nutrients can be easily absorbed. Here’s some food for thought:

  • The average person makes 2 pints of saliva a day–that’s 4 cups!
  • The smell of some foods makes your mouth “water,” preparing you for digestion before the first bite of food.
  • The small intestine is about 22 to 23 feet long.
  • The large intestine is about 5 feet long.
  • Emotions can affect how well your body digests food.
  • Digestive tract noises are called borborygmi.
  • The stomach can stretch to hold up to 4 pounds of food.

Additional Reading: It Takes Guts to Teach A&P

A system of multiple organs

The digestive system is complicated. It has multiple organs; both mechanical and chemical processes are in play; a full complement of enzyme/substrate reactions takes place; and water and nutrients are absorbed to keep cells functioning. Take a look at our free digestive system infographic to help students visualize the structures and functions of the system.

Do you need a three-dimensional manipulative model of the digestive system? Carolina offers an almost life-size model that includes all of the structures from the mouth to the rectum. If you want your students to have an in-depth look at the stomach, consider this stomach model that is dissectible into 2 parts to show internal and external anatomy.

Examining digestive system tissue types

The microscopic tissue structure of the organs within the digestive system are linked to their specific functions. Students can examine the various digestive system tissue types with tissue models, prepared digestive tract microscope slides, or an intestine tissues self-study slide set. For a hands-on investigation of chemical digestion and the role gastric and intestinal enzymes play, we offer a digestion lab kit in which students investigate the effects of pH, temperature, and enzyme concentration on food digestion.

Closing the unit

For the end of the digestive system unit, we have a free activity that breaks the digestion pathway and enzyme content into chunks, making it easier for students to review the biochemistry of the process. Download the activity. As a final check before the test, use a structure and function review that students will find helpful.

Carolina is here to help with products and content to make the digestive system easier to teach. Ready to whet your students’ appetite for A&P?


Wells, Diana. 2017. “19 Fun Facts About the Digestive System.” Healthline, May 22, 2017. https://www.healthline.com/health/fun-facts-about-the-digestive-system.

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