This unit plan guides students to design a working model of part of the human digestive system that can be built in the classroom.

Purpose

Design a model of the mechanical, chemical and biological (enzymatic) processes of each part of the human digestive system.

Download the Designing a model of the human digestive system – unit plan (see below).

Suggestions for a scenario

Your class has been asked to design a lab bench model of the human digestive system. The class may be broken into groups, each with the responsibility of designing one part of the digestive system.

This lab bench model could be used by scientists to measure the energy released from different foods. At the moment, these scientists look at the energy release from foods by measuring blood sugar in human test subjects after they have eaten food. However, this method is expensive and time-consuming, and often the rate of digestion can vary widely in different subjects.

Biotechnology

Scientists at Plant & Food Research’s food concept development programme could use the results from your model to make new foods that release energy at specific rates. They are using plants, like vegetables and cereals, to make new foods. Biotechnology techniques are used by scientists for plant breeding, understanding the physics and chemistry of food structure and looking at how these things influence digestion.

Keywords

Lab bench model, human digestive system, nutrients, energy release, glycaemic load, in vitro, in vivo.

 

    Published 1 February 2007, Updated 29 September 2017