Maintaining a Healthy Digestive System

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  • Lesson Identification and TEKS Addressed

    Cluster : Human Services

    Course : Lifetime Nutrition and Wellness

  • TEKS Student Expectations

    • (2) The student understands the principles of digestion and metabolism. The student is expected to:
      • (A) describe the processes of digestion and metabolism
      • (B) calculate and explain basal and activity metabolisms and factors that effect each
      • (C ) apply knowledge of digestion and metabolism when making decisions related to food intake and physical fitness
  • Basic Direct Teach Lesson

    Instructional Objectives

    Students will:

    • analyze the process of digestion
    • investigate digestive disorders
    • calculate basal metabolic rate/view the total calories burned a day depending on the activity levels
    • evaluate tips on eating nutritious food
  • Rationale


    In order to stay healthy, it is important to eat the right balance of food to aid in the digestive process. In this lesson you will have the opportunity to analyze the process of digestion and learn to calculate basal metabolic rate.
    (Revised 6/11/2012)

  • Duration of Lesson

    Four 45 minute class periods

  • Word Wall

    BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate): rate at which the body used energy while at rest to keep vital functions going such as breathing and keeping warm

    Constipation: Abnormally difficult or infrequent bowel movements

    Diarrhea: Abnormally frequent, loose, watery bowel movement

    Digestion: Process used by the body to break down food into simple substances for energy, growth and cell repair

    Esophagus: A long tube connecting the mouth to the stomach

    Gall bladder: The small sac-shaped organ beneath the liver, in which bile is stored after secretion by the liver and before release into the intestine

    Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD): Backflow of stomach acid into the esophagus

    Large intestine: Absorbs water from the remaining indigestible food matter, and then passes useless waste material from the body

    Liver: A large organ in the body that stores and metabolizes nutrients destroys toxins and produces bile

    Mouth: The opening in the lower part of the human face, surrounded by the lips, through which food is taken in

    Pancreas: A large gland behind the stomach that secretes digestive enzymes into the duodenum

    Saliva: Watery liquid secreted into the mouth by glands, providing lubrication for chewing and swallowing, and aiding digestion

    Small intestine: That section of the gastrointestinal tract which digests food and absorbs nutrients after they have passed through the stomach

    Stomach: The internal organ in which the first part of digestion occurs, being (in humans and many mammals) a pear-shaped enlargement of the alimentary canal linking the esophagus to the small intestine

  • Materials/Specialized Equipment Needed


    • calculators
    • computer with projector for PowerPoint™ presentation


    • copies of handouts (see All Lesson Attachments tab)

  • Anticipatory Set

    Before class begins, set out the following:

    • disassembled model of digestive system
    • pictures of nutritious foods or plastic food models
    • poster of Heimlich Maneuver

    Have students brainstorm answers to the following questions:

    • What do you think these items are for?
    • What do you think we will be studying?

    Allow students to assemble the digestive system model.

    Students will revisit their list of questions during Lesson Closure.

  • Direct Instruction with Special Education Modifications/Accommodations

    Introduce the lesson objectives, terms, and definitions.

    Review student knowledge of digestive system. Distribute handout, Digestive System (see All Lessons Attachment tab). Instruct students to label the digestive system during the slide presentation.

    Introduce PowerPoint™, Maintaining a Healthy Digestive System (see All Lessons Attachment tab). Allow for questions and discussion.

    View short YouTube video: Digestive System
    This video describes the whole function of the digestive system in our body.

    Explain the difference between BMI and BMR. BMI is the Body Mass Index that uses a ratio of weight to height and can determine whether you are at risk for health problems related to weight. Students will calculate BMI, which is more common, in another lesson. Model how to calculate BMR. Distribute handout, Factors in Calculating BMR (see All Lessons Attachment tab).

    Continue with slide presentation to complete direct instruction.

    Explain to the students that if we do not maintain a healthy digestive system, digestive disorders can occur. Specific digestive disorders will be covered later in a lesson on food related illnesses.

    Review the Heimlich Maneuver poster with the students and ask if any of them have ever choked on a piece of food or if they have seen anyone choke on a piece of food. What happened? How did they dislodge the food? Would they be able to assist someone who was choking? Demonstrate the steps of the Heimlich Maneuver to the students.

    Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for all special education students must be followed. Examples of accommodations may include, but are not limited to:

    • encouraging students to participate in class discussion
    • continuously checking for understanding

  • Guided Practice with Special Education Modifications/Accommodations

    Distribute handout, Healthy Eating Tips (see All Lesson Attachments tab). Students will fill in the blank circles with the tips and foods that they should eat to maintain a healthy digestive system. Discuss answers.

    Model how to calculate BMR. Guide students as they calculate their own. Assign handout, Calculating BMR, (see All Lessons Attachments tab) as homework. The key is included. Instruct students to show their work. They may check their answers on the following website:

    Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for all special education students must be followed. Examples of accommodations may include, but are not limited to:

    • assigning a peer tutor to assist with calculating BMR
    • allowing more time to complete assignment

  • Independent Practice/Laboratory Experience with Special Education Modifications/Accommodations

    Divide class into subgroups of 8 with two or three students in each group depending on your class size. Distribute The Digestive System Index Cards (see All Lesson Attachments tab) with one organ listed on each card. Assign students to research the organ and outline 10 facts about each organ on the back using reliable internet sources such as Medline Plus.

    Students will present their findings to the class.

    Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for all special education students must be followed. Examples of accommodations may include, but are not limited to:

    • reducing the number of problems
    • answering questions orally

  • Lesson Closure

    Review lesson objectives, terms, definitions, and questions developed during anticipatory set.
    Remind students of quiz at the end of lesson.

    Sample review discussion questions:

    • What happens to food after you eat it?
    • Explain the steps in the digestive process.
    • Why do we need to know our BMR?
    • Explain the steps in the digestive process.

    Students will present their outline for each digestive organ to the class.

    Check for understanding.

  • Summative/End of Lesson Assessment with Special Education Modifications/Accommodations

    The students will be assessed with a quiz, The Digestive System Quiz (see All Lessons Attachments tab).

    Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for all special education students must be followed. Examples of accommodations may include, but are not limited to:

    • encouraging students to highlight terms and definitions
    • provide specific questions to assist in the writing of the reflection

  • References/Resources


    • Kowtaluk, Helen. Food for Today. Eighth. New York, New York: Glenco, McGraw-Hill, 2004. 81-83. Print.



  • Additional Required Components

    English Language Proficiency Standards (ELPS) Strategies

    • clear explanation of academic tasks
    • graphic organizers
    • word wall
  • College and Career Readiness Connection

    AchieveTexas Career Cluster Crosswalks

    The Career Cluster Crosswalks housed on the AchieveTexas website provide Texas teachers with a direct connection between their CTE course TEKS and the College and Career Readiness Standards (CCRS). Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, and Cross-Disciplinary integration are the focus of the CCRS. These college and career readiness standards are essential in the planning and delivery of CTE lessons. The extent to which the integration occurs is determined by the methods and strategies utilized by each teacher.

    Career Cluster Crosswalks for Education and Training, Hospitality and Tourism, and Human Services Career Clusters can be found at:

  • Recommended Strategies

    Reading Strategies

    Have several current event articles from newspapers, magazines, and/or internet, available to students to read about nutrition, nutrition myths, digestive diseases and keeping active,

    Have students use the pre-reading strategy of prediction. Have students read the title, scan the document and predict the content of the document prior to reading.

    Post-reading strategy may include summarizing the contents of the document.

  • Quotes

    Today, more than 95% of all chronic disease is caused by food choice, toxic food ingredients, nutritional deficiencies and lack of physical exercise.
    - Mike Adams

    Processed foods not only extend the shelf life, but they extend the waistline as well.
    -Karen Sessions

    Happiness: a good bank account, a good cook, and a good digestion.
    -Jean-Jacques Rousseau

    I don’t know a better preparation for life than a love of poetry and a good digestion.
    -Zona Gale

  • Multimedia/Visual Strategies


    • Maintaining a Healthy Digestive System
    • Presentation Notes – Maintaining a Healthy Digestive System


    • Tedx Talk:
      • Graham Hill: Why I’m a weekday vegetarian
        We all know the arguments that being vegetarian is better for the environment and for the animals — but in a carnivorous culture, it can be hard to make the change. Graham Hill has a powerful, pragmatic suggestion: Be a weekday vegetarian.


    • United States Department of Agriculture MyPlate
      The Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, an organization of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, was established in 1994 to improve the nutrition and well-being of Americans. Toward this goal, the Center focuses its efforts on two primary objectives: advance and promote dietary guidance for all Americans, and conduct applied research and analyses in nutrition and consumer economics.

    Files for downloading:

  • Graphic Organizers/Handout

    Graphic Organizer:

    • Healthy Eating Tips


    • Calculating BMR
    • Factors in Calculating BMR
    • The Digestive System
    • The Digestive System Index Cards
    • The Digestive System Quiz

    Files for downloading:

  • Writing Strategies

    Journal Entries:

    • Write down all the foods you have eaten in the past 24 hours.
    • Write down all the physical activity you have done in the past 24 hours.

    Writing Strategy:


    • Role: Principal
    • Audience: Teachers
    • Format: Memo
    • Topic: Upcoming Health Fair
  • Communication 90 Second Speech Topics

    • My Favorite Nutritious Meal is ……..
    • My Fitness Plan is …..
  • Other Essential Lesson Components

    Enrichment activity

    Invite a qualified professional to provide training on properly performing the Heimlich Maneuver.

    Additional research topics:

    • Why does our stomach growl?
    • Why do we burp?
      Share findings with class.

    TED Talks:

    TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks videos and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event.

    The video below is related to this lesson. Allow students to view the video, and lead a discussion concerning the TED Talk.

    • Graham Hill: Why I’m a weekday vegetarian
      We all know the arguments that being vegetarian is better for the environment and for the animals — but in a carnivorous culture, it can be hard to make the change. Graham Hill has a powerful, pragmatic suggestion: Be a weekday vegetarian.
  • Family/Community Connection

    • Suggested guest speakers: Gastroenterologist, Red Cross representative, or school nurse
    • Encourage students to share the new USDA website with parents and family.
  • CTSO connection

    Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA)

    Star Events:

    • Nutrition and Wellness – an individual event that recognizes participants who track food intake and physical activity for themselves, their family, or a community group and determine goals and strategies for improving their overall health. Participants must prepare a portfolio and an oral presentation.
  • Service Learning Projects

    Successful service learning project ideas originate from student concerns and needs. Allow students to brainstorm about service projects pertaining to lesson. For additional information on service learning see

    Students can volunteer at a local health fair and teach the community about tips and resources they may use to avoid digestive diseases.

  • All Attachments