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Author(s): Nancy Moreno, PhD, and Barbara Tharp, MS.

What Happens During Digestion?

Session 1: Setting up (cont.)

2. Have the students in each group cut the piece of turkey in half and place one section in the bag labeled “1.” Direct them to place the other section in bag “2” and to add 1/2 teaspoon of meat tenderizer to that bag. Have them seal the bag and shake the turkey slice within the bag so that it is well coated with the tenderizer.

3. Have the students place the bags to one side of the classroom for about an hour. (If students will be making observations the following day, refrigerate the bags to prevent spoilage.) Have students write, in their journals or on a sheet of paper, what they predict will happen to the slices of turkey.

Session 2: Making observations

1. Have students observe the texture and color of the meat samples without removing them from the plastic bags. Ask, Is there anything different about the turkey that was combined with the meat tenderizer? What do you think happened?

2. Ask students to think about the changes they observed in the meat with tenderizer. Mention that the substance they added was a chemical that helps soften the muscle fibers in meat by beginning to break them down into smaller pieces.

3. Help students understand that similar substances work within their stomachs and small intestines to break down the food they eat. Have students draw or write about their observations.

4. Mention that turkey meat is a muscle. Help students understand that protein is the building block for muscles and that it is used inside each muscle cell. Protein that we eat must be broken into smaller components before it can be used by our bodies. You may want to mention that the chemical meat tenderizer also is a kind of protein. It provides another example of the variety of roles that proteins play inside plants and animals.

Funded by the following grant(s)

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIH

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIH

My Health My World: National Dissemination
Grant Number: 5R25ES009259
The Environment as a Context for Opportunities in Schools
Grant Number: 5R25ES010698, R25ES06932

Houston Endowment Inc.

Foundations for the Future: Capitalizing on Technology to Promote Equity, Access and Quality in Elementary Science Education