Homeschool Preschool: Digestive System
The digestive system day got off to a rocky start with both kids cranky- my more resilient kid was brought to tears because her brother was the first to find a pen for our shopping list!
I’ve been so focused on our body lessons that I haven’t quite stayed on top of some household duties, so we started by first talking about food in our house, food that is healthy, and what different foods help our bodies do. Anya has been toying with the idea of not eating anything that comes from dead animals- her love of sausage and bacon is proving a sticking point for any vegetarianism- and so we talked a lot about the sources of different types of foods. That segued nicely into getting a household chore done: the shopping list and trip to the grocery store.
Our usual method is that I ask each kid to list 2-3 things they think we need, and as they say them I first draw a picture of the item, then sound out the word as I write it out. Each kid gets a list made this way, and it is their job to keep an eye out for their items and remind me to get them. I’m always pleased when they can remember something beyond their favorite foods and especially when they ask what ingredients we need to make something they are craving for dinner, I hope it is a skill that comes in handy when they are on their own- I know plenty of adults who have a hard time shopping effectively and planning meals!
During our drive to the store I talked them through the process of digestion. I asked them to tell me what happens first to food that we eat, and was expecting to hear “it goes to our tummy”, and so I was thrilled when Anya told me that first our teeth “crunch up all our food”- that led into talking about saliva and how it and the teeth start the process and help make the food into a moist, soft ball to swallow. I also threw in a little bit about the importance of chewing and had them think about times that they had swallowed something hard and had it hurt- tortilla chips being the big offender. We talked about the stomach and how it mechanically squishes the food up even more, and I introduced the idea of stomach acid that continues to break down and soften the food even more. The intestines are next, and I was able to tie them into the circulation system we talked about yesterday. I made sure to ask some questions to prompt them to remember yesterday’s lesson, and it definitely helped. Then we talked about how the nutrients and good stuff were transferred from the food in the intestine to the blood waiting to take the nutrients to the hungry cells. And then, once all the good stuff is taken out, the waste that’s left over is… POOP! Oh, so much joy in our household! Learning about POOP!
As a side note, I use driving time to introduce topics and do my little mini-lectures a lot because
- It staves off boredom in the car, and as any Yoda Mama knows, boredom leads to antsy-ness, antsy-ness leads to button-pushing, button-pushing leads to fighting and fighting leads to yelling, misery and the Dark Side.
- I have a captive audience, and the kids are much less likely to get distracted by the cat walking by or a beloved toy in the corner or a shiny piece of tinfoil on the floor. It doesn’t take much with the three year old set!
- They love it! Seriously, they get excited and request certain topics over and over. I credit our driving talks about the immune system for the fact that Anya drew that thing on the left. When I asked what it was she said, “It’s that kind of tiny cell in your body that eats all the bad germs, what’s that one called again? Yeah, a macrophage, it’s a macrophage!” My heart, she swoons!
|Fake Poop Hands!|
About the author: I’ve got my 3.75 year old twins at home instead of in preschool for a short period of time, this is Day 3 of my Big Preschool at Home project- I’m hoping to keep up with the blogging, both as a record and to help anyone else who is planning something similar or wants to supplement preschool with some discovery learning and science activities. Digestive System was first published on Across the Iron Road on October 5.