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Tuesday November 15, 2016 at 1:48pm Age: 2 yrs
Category: Minisink Elementary


First graders in Mrs. Hoffman class took an exciting scientific journey last week: the food journey, through our digestive system!  


As with all journeys, there were many questions and discoveries along the way.


“How does your body tell your brain that it’s time to eat?” asked class parent and presenter, Kristine Lukasik, a.k.a. Kurt’s mom.


Students were eager to talk about the role of the senses in our eating habits. The colors and freshness that make food appealing to the eye. Smells that tell us whether foods are fresh or going bad. The warning sound of stomach rumblings, and the mouth-watering sizzling, crackling sounds of cooking.


After learning about the jobs of saliva and different types of teeth, students squeezed a small ball through a nylon stocking to emulate food traveling through the esophagus to the stomach. A washcloth illustrated the purpose of the inner-texture of the 23-foot-long small intestine—it helps pick up nutrition the body can use. A hose demonstrated how the intestine houses itself in the abdomen.


Other digestion topics included the role of good bacteria and microbes, the benefits of fermented foods such as yogurt, the importance of drinking water—and other mysteries of the two-day journey that transforms food from solids to liquids, and nutrients to waste.


“The goal of this topic and activities is to help children make connections between the science of the human body and the food choices they make every day,” Mrs. Lukasik said.  


Students in Mrs. Hoffman class have been learning about the skeletal, muscular, digestive, circulatory and nervous body systems.  


Mrs. Lukasik studied biochemistry and food chemistry at Rutgers University. She is a parent of two Minisink Valley students, and works locally at Balchem Corporation, a producer of ingredients for human and animal nutrition. “STEM outreach is important to me personally, especially in the areas of agriculture and applied science. Food is a great vehicle to communicate about science, as people can easily relate to it,” she said.