Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Learning about the Digestive and Excretory systems

We are continuing our year of learning about the Human body!  We have recently completed the Digestive system and the Excretory units.  Below of some of the resources we used to complete out learning.

Kids are really enjoying the Crash course series which we watch before starting any human body unit.

We signed up for a course on the Abdomen thru future learn.  It was a three week course that thoroughly examined the abdomen and the digestive and excretory system.  If you haven't check out this online free course site, you should!  It is geared to adult learners but the children and I still get quite a bit of information out of the series!

Next I looked around for some experiments for the kids and I to try.  I found this one on you tube

The kids and I talked about recreating it but honestly it was just a little to gross even for me:)!  So I went simpler and according to the kids gross enough by turning bread into Chyme.

We tore up half a slice of bread and added it to a zip locked bag

add 2 tablespoon of water and the kids kneaded the bag.  I had the kids do this while watching the above video

after 6 minutes we had the beginning of Chyme!

There was no dissecting for this section of our studies or we continued to use our book Science explorer to read and create mini books to go into our human lap book folder which is getting quite big now.

Next we went on to learn about the Excretory system again starting by watching the Crash course video.  Next we do an experiment to replicate the filtration process of the kidneys (this was a decidedly less gross experiment for us)

Cut off the bottom of two water bottles 

Drill a hole in the cap and insert clear piping

place the hose into a funnel the set up looks like this--the bottles represent the kidneys the piping represents the ureter, and the funnel represents the bladder in this demo:)  Fill the bottles with 6 coffee filters and that represent the nephrons that do the filtering in the kidneys 

Take half a cup of water and add 1 drop of food coloring

Carefully pour the water into the bottles and the coffee filters remove the coloring 

and the should be clear water that runs into the tubes (ureter) 

And it fills up the bladder and empties clear.  We did this several times and while the coloring was alway weaker it was not 100% clear in our experiment.  We tried adding more filters but again there was some light coloring coming thru:(
We got this idea from this you tube video and his water always ended up clear:)

Next the kids dissected a kidney (which is the last dissection project for the school year)

We watched a video on how to dissect a sheep kidney

This was the first time we had trouble figuring out what we saw....I wonder if a fresh kidney would have been better?

We did identify the Urether

Kids taking a closer look.
We have completed our reading and experiments for this unit and are moving on to Nutrition and Health in our science lessons!


  1. You are just so amazing as a homeschooler. The education you are giving your children is just fantastic. I am a nurse and took classes for the body systems and this is just awesome. Hugs!

  2. Wonderful!! Thank you so much for sharing these resources; I wasn't previously familiar with either. The labs you did look great!

  3. These will be awesome for our study of anatomy next year!