Traveling Tapeworm

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In this "gross" activity (on pages 34-46), learners make a life-size model of a human digestive tract, and follow the life of a beef tapeworm as it makes its way through. In Part One, learners color, cut out, and assemble the parts of the digestive system, including full-length small and large intestines. In Part Two, learners cut out pictures of the stages of tapeworm development, and tape them within the model. A beef tapeworm life cycle diagram helps put the human host period within a larger system.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
30 to 45 minutes

Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Model

English, Spanish

Materials List (per group of students)

  • stapler (1-2 for teams to share)
  • 1 large poster board
  • blue and red pencils or crayons
  • 1 large plastic bag
  • meter stick
  • 1 pair of scissors per person
  • glue or glue stick
  • tape
  • 1 copy of Mouth and Esophagus (p.36) on white paper
  • 1 copy of Stomach (p.37) on pink paper
  • 6 copies of Small Intestine (p.38) on pink paper
  • 2 copies of the Large Intestine (p.39) on pink paper


  • Life Sciences
    • Diversity of Life
      • Animals
    • Ecology
      • Ecosystems
    • Human Body
      • Digestion
      • Health and Nutrition


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • read

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Uses STEM to solve real-world problems
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities

Designed specifically for

  • Rural dweller

Culture, ethnicity, and gender

  • Girls

    • Explicity developed for this group


Foreign language versions of this resource:

Components that are part of this resource:

Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


Source Collection

  • Science After School Consumer's Guide


  • All rights reserved, University of Nebraska State Museum, 2001

Funding Sources:

  • NSF Informal Science Education Program, 9909496
  • Howard Hughes Medical Institute