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Kids Love this Gross Science Project on Digestion that Ends as we Make Poo

Updated on August 13, 2015
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Rhonda Albom is a homeschool mom, photographer, and travel writer living in New Zealand and sharing the world at AlbomAdventures.

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This is the Ultimate Gross Science Project: When Else Do You Get to Make Poop in the Kitchen

What could be more fun for kids than a hands-on science project teaching about digestion that ends by making a poo? Starting with everyday food and adding common household items like dish detergent and vinegar, we take kids step by step through the digestion process. The project uses a bowl to simulate the mouth, a potato masher for teeth, a blender for the stomach and a stocking for the intestines and anus. In about 30 minutes, they will have studied the digestion process from start to finish, learning and laughing all the way and finally squeezing out a small piece of "poop".

They may verbalize your thought "ewww, gross,' but afterwards, they can explain digestion. I honestly believe this is the best science activity we have done as homeschoolers. My girls even wanted to include their friends in this gross science project, and that is what you will see here.

We have repeated it three times over the seven years for two reasons. First, kids get different things out of it as they grow up and are better able to understand the digestion. And secondly it's fun to make poop.

Below you will find a bit on digestion, a video showing our project and finally step by step illustrated directions of the process along with a script, if you want to use it.

Get ready for some science fun!

What Is Digestion?

Digestion is all about breaking food down into tiny bits so it is small enough to travel around in your blood to feed your body and give it energy.

Some Additional Dictionary Definitions to Help Gross You Out Before We Make Poop

Definitions from the Apple Dictionary

saliva - noun

watery liquid secreted into the mouth by glands, providing lubrication for chewing and swallowing, and aiding digestion.

chyme - noun

the pulpy acidic fluid that passes from the stomach to the small intestine, consisting of gastric juices and partly digested food.

bile - noun

a bitter greenish-brown alkaline fluid that aids digestion and is secreted by the liver and stored in the gallbladder.

Small intestine - noun

the part of the intestine that runs between the stomach and the large intestine; the duodenum, jejunum, and ileum collectively.

Let's Take a Look at Our Completed Gross Science Project

As homeschoolers, this project was more than just science. We included a bit of film making. This video highlights our complete project from start to finish. The step by step details are below the video.

Video by Melissa Albom at age 12.

Watch the Complete Simulated Digestion Project Here:

Good Project? - What do you think?

Do you think this is a good project to teach digestion?

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A Word of Caution Before We Begin

  1. This project can get quite messy, so keep a watch on it.
  2. ADD ONLY A SMALL AMOUNT OF LIQUID when needed. If you add too much, the project gets very wet, messy and it's more difficult to end up with a "solid" in the end.


Meet Our Science Team

Our Budding Scientists: Grace, Sarah, Melissa, Sarah
Our Budding Scientists: Grace, Sarah, Melissa, Sarah | Source

What You Will Need for This "Make Poo Science Project"

  • Food (it works great with 2 slices of toast and a can of spaghetti)
  • Mixing bowl
  • Potato masher
  • Simulated Saliva (water/detergent)
  • Blender
  • Simulated stomach juices (vinegar)
  • Simulated bile (3 x food coloring)
  • An old stocking with a small hole at the toe
  • White tray or plate for collecting samples (Optional)

Where Does Our Food Go?

Let's find out . . .

The Digestive Process: Simplified

Before beginning children should have a basic understanding of the digestive process:

1: Food goes into our mouth, saliva begins to break it down and our teeth mash it.

2: It travels down the esophagus to the stomach, stomach juices break it down more. Now it is called Chyme.

3: Then Bile is added as it leaves the stomach.

4: Next, the intestines: first the small, then the large. The littlest bits of food are squeezed into the body to give us energy.

Step 5: What remains is pushed out through the anus as poo.

The Digestive Process

Source

Start Here for Step By Step Digestion Simulation

A possible script is provided below:

.

The words to say are in Bold

The activities to complete are in italics.

Step 1: Into The Mouth

Put the food in the bowl (mouth)

Add water and detergent (saliva)

Use masher like "teeth" (chew)

Let's Make Poo - Step 1

Adding the dish wash liquid to simulate saliva
Adding the dish wash liquid to simulate saliva | Source
Mashing the food to simulate teeth.
Mashing the food to simulate teeth. | Source

SCRIPT: Simulating Step 1 with the Young Scientist: Into Our Mouth

Here we go - the first stop for our meal is our mouth. We will pretend this bowl is our mouth.

(Place food in bowl)

Here our food mixes with saliva, the wet liquid that is in our mouth. This saliva will begin to break down our food and our teeth (potato masher) will break it down even farther.

(Add just enough slightly watered down dish liquid to get the food wet).

(Use the potato masher to simulate chewing and break apart the pieces of food)

In our sample experiment we planned to use a New Zealand favorite, spaghetti on toast. We were out of bread on the day, so we substituted Weet-Bix (a popular breakfast cereal). It's important to select food that will be easy for the kids to mash up.

Step 2: Into The Stomach

Pour "chewed" food into blender (stomach)

Add vinegar (stomach acids)

Blend (breakdown)

Let's Make Poo - Step 2

Pointing out on Sarah's drawing of the digestive system, where the food travels down the esophagus.
Pointing out on Sarah's drawing of the digestive system, where the food travels down the esophagus. | Source
Our food in the blender, we add vinegar to simulate the stomach acids
Our food in the blender, we add vinegar to simulate the stomach acids | Source
Blending the food and stomach acids together.
Blending the food and stomach acids together. | Source

SCRIPT: Simulating Step 2 with the Young Scientist: Into The Stomach


Imagine the food you chewed up has gone down your throat, traveled through a tube called the esophagus and landed in your stomach. We will pretend the blender is your stomach.

(Pour mashed food into blender)

Here stomach juices, a bit like acid, are mixed with the food. These stomach juices have an unpleasant taste and smell, and are what we have experienced when we have spewed up. We will use white vinegar to represent the stomach juices and the blender to do the mixing. After we mix it, our food gets a new name. It's now called chyme.

(Pour in a small amount of white vinegar as it will act as the stomach acids. Don't add too much vinegar, we want our "chyme" to be wet, but not liquid. Blend on low.)

Step 3: Getting Ready For The Small Intestine

Add food coloring (bile)

Stir with spoon (breakdown)

Let's Make Poo - Step 3

Using food coloring to simulate bile from the gallbladder to break down the fat from our food.
Using food coloring to simulate bile from the gallbladder to break down the fat from our food. | Source

SCRIPT: Simulating Step 3 with the Young Scientist: Getting Ready For The Small Intestine

Next our food travels to the small intestines. As it leaves the stomach bile is added from the gallbladder (produced by the liver). This bile is important as it breaks down the fat in the chyme and also turns its color to brown.

We will use green and red food coloring to represent the bile.

(Add a few drops of food coloring to the blender contents. Pick opposite colors from the color wheel like green and red, if you want your end result to be a brownish color.)

Step 4: Through the Intestines

Helper holds stocking while chyme is poured in (into the small intestines)

Squeeze it through, allowing liquid to leak out sides (converting to energy)

Let's Make Poo - Step 4

Pushing the food through a stocking to simulate the small intestines.
Pushing the food through a stocking to simulate the small intestines. | Source
This is a messy step!
This is a messy step! | Source

SCRIPT: Simulating Step 4 with the Young Scientist: Through the Intestines

As it travels through the small intestines it nourishes your body. This is the fun part if you are a kid who likes to get a bit dirty. We will pretend this stocking is the intestines.

(Pour the contents of the blender into an old stocking with a small hole cut into the foot.)

The littlest bits of food are now digested small enough to be squeezed out through the tiny holes in the wall of the small intestine, into the blood and then sent around your body to give you energy.

(Slowly squeeze the chyme down from the top to the bottom of the stocking. The liquid will ooze out the sides as just like your intestines allow the vitamins from the food to circulate in your blood.This is a messy step, so you may want to put a pan under the work area)

*The stocking is perfect to represent the small intestines as the small holes in the stocking allow the moisture to escape. Do NOT use a new one, as you will want to dispose of it at the end of the project.

Step 5: Waste Out the Other End

Squeeze solid bits through hole at bottom of stocking.

Congratulations, You Can Make Poo!

The Final Step: Squeezing out a Poo!

Project a success - we have simulated digestion and made poop.
Project a success - we have simulated digestion and made poop. | Source

SCRIPT: Simulating Step 5 with the Young Scientist: Out The Other End

The undigested food gets squeezed through the entire small intestine and into the large intestine where it will stay for about two days.

(Continue squeezing the food through the stocking towards the bottom.)

Finally, your body has used what it needs from the food. All of the remaining liquid has been sucked out from it and it becomes more and more solid.

(Squeeze the remaining bits through the hole you cut into the stocking)

This eventually is pushed out the anus (hole in the stocking), and we have poo!

Are You Going to Make Poo?

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If You Like this Project, You will Love Totally Gross - The Game

A dose of gross and kids have more fun whiled they learn science. We love this game! It engages kids as they learn about all the major scientific disciplines. The game finds "gross facts and activities from biology to chemistry to zoology. As they play, kids (and parents) answer questions, learn interesting facts and participate in activities. It's all in the name of science!

Sarah Drew the Digestive Process

Source

If You Loved This Project Check out this Gross Science Book

Oh, Yuck! The Encyclopedia of Everything Nasty
Oh, Yuck! The Encyclopedia of Everything Nasty

There's more to gross science than just making poo! I bought this book for my nephew many years ago and he loved it.

 

(poll added March 2011)

Did I Gross You Out?

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© 2010 Rhonda Albom

What Do You Think - Is Make Poop the Best Ever Science Project?

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    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 21 months ago from Canada

      Yep, my grandkids would love this and that is all that I will say on this one ;)

    • RhondaAlbom profile image
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      Rhonda Albom 2 years ago from New Zealand

      LOL - we saw a chimp do that in zoo once. It was pretty funny.

    • profile image

      Salwa 2 years ago

      We went to get my daughter out of her crib once and she had seeramd poop ALL OVER and had been eating it. I should have taken a picture, that way when she's old enough to go on dates we can show them to her boyfriend and say You sure you want to be kissing that mouth? She's eaten poop. HAHA

    • ecogranny profile image

      Kathryn Grace 2 years ago from San Francisco

      This one looks like tons of fun to do with the grandkids. Some of ours are old enough to enjoy this project. Pinning. I hope it carries over to HubPages in a few days so I can re-pin!

    • RhondaAlbom profile image
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      Rhonda Albom 3 years ago from New Zealand

      @MelanieKaren: Thanks.

    • RhondaAlbom profile image
      Author

      Rhonda Albom 3 years ago from New Zealand

      @MelanieKaren: Thanks for the giggles. :)

    • RhondaAlbom profile image
      Author

      Rhonda Albom 3 years ago from New Zealand

      @Lady Lorelei: I'll bet they love this experiment. It's super fun and very educational.

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 3 years ago from Canada

      Ha now how could I not visit this article. It sounds like something my grandkids would love to do.

    • MelanieKaren profile image

      Melanie Wilcox 3 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      back again :) I came across this lens while going through the "Best of Squidoo - How To's" page, and this lens is currently number 12. I'm writing to let you know that lens 13 is "How to Cook Pinto Beans in a Crockpot," and well, I don't think many will be clicking on that pinto beans recipe (poor lensmaster -eheh). It's even numbered 13. Maybe there's something to that number after all. ehehehe I just though that all was funny. :)

    • MelanieKaren profile image

      Melanie Wilcox 3 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      haha - This is great!

    • linhah lm profile image

      Linda Hahn 3 years ago from California

      I have a bunch of nieces and nephews that would love this project. I can nearly hear the giggling.

    • profile image

      anonymous 3 years ago

      LOL, I knew I had been here before! Still a great lens!

    • ian-patrick-716 profile image

      ian-patrick-716 4 years ago

      Nice

    • leesholden profile image

      Lee 4 years ago from Derbyshire, UK

      Looks disgusting BUT educational!

    • Steph Tietjen profile image

      Stephanie Tietjen 4 years ago from Albuquerque, New Mexico

      This is awesome poop. I'd do this if I had some kids around.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      What a awesome idea, can't wait to try with my daycare kids, they love talking about poo and the normal bathroom humour. Love it.....its Emergent Curriculum.

    • jenniferteacher1 profile image

      jenniferteacher1 5 years ago

      I can't wait to try this in science class! I'll have to find a way to work it into the environment...

    • profile image

      MichaelTJones 5 years ago

      Nooooooo! why?!?! :))

      At least this so "sort of" educational... haha

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Great lens! Amazed at how curious folks are about their remains ... not surprised that the book "What Your Poo is Telling You" was our number one seller when we had our retail store.

      To bad they missed the chapter on how to make your own:)

      Gotta try this with the grand-kids!

      Cheers!

    • itsmuzza2011 profile image

      itsmuzza2011 6 years ago

      ive seen my fair share of poo, that cats had 5 kittens 6 wks ago.... need i say more great lens though mnay thanks the kids will love doing this

    • dwnovacek profile image

      dwnovacek 6 years ago

      Awesome science project AND awesome lens! Blessed by your Science neighborhood Squid Angel!

    • profile image

      Sarasota 6 years ago

      that is a really cool project! To be honest, I learned some stuff that I wasn't too too sure of! :-)

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      This is great! It's nice to try making poop. By the way, you can read this for additional information.

      http://www.digestiveenzymessupplement.info

    • profile image

      Miles_of_Smiles11 6 years ago

      So gross. lol. But it is an excellent project for kids and adults alike. I kind of wish we had projects like this back in my middle school when we had to learn about the digestive tract. It would have made learning about the human body a bit more interesting. Yay science!

    • Kandy O profile image

      Kandy O 6 years ago

      My 10 year old will absolutely love this. We will have to try it soon. Great lens!

    • profile image

      pinkhoodie 6 years ago

      Awesome POOP project

    • imagesjewelers profile image

      Kelly Klose 6 years ago from Elkhart,IN

      Great Article! Does this poo smell?

    • sdtechteacher profile image

      sdtechteacher 6 years ago

      This is hilarious and disgusting. I want to try it but my child is too disgusted and won't do it. hahaha.

    • nukemdomis lm profile image

      nukemdomis lm 6 years ago

      I want to print this lens to read while I'm on the toilet. Good job!

    • profile image

      distancelearningcourses 6 years ago

      Hi Pukeko, thanks for your effort to writing such an informative lens on Poo. I love your lens and got good information for making poo. I am sure you would have rewarded LOtD from Squidoo. Here after I will keep visiting this page... keep writing Good Lens.. LOL

    • TheresaMarkham profile image

      TheresaMarkham 6 years ago

      Great lens! Congrats on LOTD!

    • profile image

      Alohagems 6 years ago

      congrats on this one. you are such an inspiration

    • cdcraftee profile image

      Christine Larsen 6 years ago from South Australia

      Congratulations and Really Well done Rhonda,

      My 10yo grand-daughter's request for her birthday tea was for us to make 'Doggy-dos' again - bananas completely and thickly covered in a savoury sausage meat mixture and baked in the oven. Picture it!....eeyew and yuk - but they taste fantastic. Should see my angel plunge her hands into the meat to mix well - "Ohh-hh, this is gross, Gran - but Here I Go" - and then she loves doing it and doesn't want to stop.

      Yukky stuff like this is SUCH a joy for kids - as your photos clearly depict (and not too bad for the adults, either!) Thanks for the laugh,

      Christine

    • Charmcrazey profile image

      Wanda Fitzgerald 6 years ago from Central Florida

      What a fabulous project. Looks like your group is having a blast, and it didn't seem to gross them out at all.

    • BunnyFabulous profile image

      BunnyFabulous 6 years ago from Central Florida

      Great idea. I had no idea you could make poo any other way than the obvious. Excellent way to appeal to kids' interest in all things gross and learn at the same time. Won't do this for a few years since my daughter's only 3, but I'll hold onto this idea for a possible project in the future.....maybe. ;)

    • gabegame lm profile image

      gabegame lm 6 years ago

      Geez, I've never seen that made... I think I'm going to pass on having my kidos make this project. ;)

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Awesome!! Thanks for sharing!

    • VSP profile image

      VSP 6 years ago

      You can see my thoughts on my fb page Homeschool Preschool thru High School where I featured your lens.

    • FrankChapman LM profile image

      FrankChapman LM 6 years ago

      I know I have a cat on my head and his gross side is pointing at you. But I was grossed out by this Lens in a good way. So much I didn't know about my own body. May I suggest your next Lens. Things you can make with Poo.

    • RawBill1 profile image

      Bill 6 years ago from Gold Coast, Australia

      Well this is certainly a different idea for a lens! What a great idea for the kids during school holidays. Might have to get my kids onto it during the Easter break!

    • divacratus 2 profile image

      divacratus 2 6 years ago

      An absolutely fun lens! I love Science experiments and this is a really innovative idea for a Science project. Thanks for sharing and a hearty congrats for getting LoTD! :)

    • profile image

      DebMartin 6 years ago

      I laughed all the way through this lens. Thanks for the share and the chuckle. What fun. And Congratulations on LOTD

    • Chocolatealchemy profile image

      Chocolatealchemy 6 years ago from London, United Kingdom

      What an awesome and fun Lens you have created! Would be great to see all schools doing interactive things like this with kids - perhaps send this link to schools! Congratulations on LOTD, you deserve it.

    • erin-elise profile image

      erin-elise 6 years ago

      Great science project!

    • profile image

      AdriennePetersen 6 years ago

      Very fun lens! Congrats on LOTD!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Kids would absolutely LOVE this! And best of all, while having all that fun, they'd have a real understanding of the digestive process. This has to be the most unusual lens I've seen--fantastic job!

    • writerkath profile image

      writerkath 6 years ago

      Hi Rhonda!

      This was hilarious! What an absolutely stunning experiment for kids! I also just visited your blog - you are so talented and creative. I'm smiling even as I write this comment. I'm so glad you've received LOTD...Congratulations! Squidoo is the perfect platform for your wonderful brand of humor. Please keep writing!

      Ok... off to see what else you've written.

      Thanks for the smile.

      Hugs from Kath :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Hahaha this is disgusting and VERY INFORMATIVE at the same time. If I ever do that, I'd hold a contest to who can be the last one grossed out! Hahaha! Nice science project! thumbs up!

    • grandma deal profile image

      grandma deal 6 years ago

      Great idea for a visual way to teach the children. Now I'm going to have to wait a bit longer before I'll be wanting to eat breakfast. I'll be imaging my toast and fruit and yogurt as it travels through the stocking intestines. ;o)

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