A Walk Through the Gut

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This simulation helps learners understand what happens to food as it passes through the digestive system. The learner has a 3x5 index card representing food, which he / she carries to stations around the room. Each station creatively represents one of the organs of the digestive system. At each station, the learner is given a specific instruction to "digest" the index card and then instructed to "proceed to the next station." At the end of the simulation, learners form cooperative learning groups to analyze and apply the results of the simulation to the human digestive system. This lesson guide includes an alternate plan in which learners research and write the digestion directions as well as extensions and reinforcements.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
45 to 60 minutes

Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$5 - $10 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 14 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan, Simulation


Materials List (per group of students)

  • 3x5 index cards
  • 4 pairs of scissors
  • resource materials
  • drawing-mouth, teeth, protruding tongue which lifts
  • 4 in diameter dryer exhaust vent hose
  • hot water bottle with ends removed, scissors inside
  • green balloon with scissors attached by string
  • string shopping bag, both ends open (or basketball net) with scissors inside, inside clear garbage bag
  • large cylinder of paper set in specimen bowl with scissors inside
  • slinky atop shoe box
  • shoe box with circle cut into lid, under slinky
  • paper/cards and pens for directions


  • Life Sciences
    • Human Body
      • Digestion

Informal Categories

  • Food and Cooking


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • be mobile
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Wardell, Vivian Lee