Before, students begin learning about the digestive system, we need to STOP for a second, and review students common misconceptions regarding the digestive system.
It is very important for you, as a teacher, to demystify some of the myths revolving around the digestive system in order to give students a clearer view of what makes up their digestive system and how it functions. As a teacher, you can use your discretion whether you would like to review them all at the beginning, or throughout the lesson before introducing a relevant theme.
Here are some common misconceptions:
1. Misconception #1: Digestion starts in the stomach.
- Fact: Digestion starts in the mouth, where the salivary amylase (a digestive enzyme) acts on the starch in food.
2. Misconception #2: Digestion ends in the stomach or large intestine.
- Fact: Digestion ends in the small intestine, where carbohydrates, proteins and fats are digested. Proteins are digested in the stomach. Water and minerals are absorbed into the bloodstream in the large intestine.
3. Misconception #3: The digestive system has two outlets - one for feces and one for urine (i.e., urinary system).
- Fact: The digestive system has one outlet - the anus through which undigested food is discharged from the body.
4. Misconception #4: Digestion is the process which releases usable energy from food.
- Fact: Digestion is the breakdown of large food molecules into smaller ones. Respiration is the process by which energy is released from food.
5. Misconception #5: You can not swallow food when you're upside-down.
- Fact: Regardless of your posture, food will travel in one direction due to peristalsis (muscle contractions) + gravitational force.