The aim of this lesson plan is to introduce the organs involved in the digestive system, as well as how the digestive system works, to children in a fourth grade inclusion classroom.    The digestive system was chosen because it is a concept that is somewhat concrete for the children in this classroom in that they all see people eating everyday, and digestion is a bodily function that occurs every day in their own bodies.  This lesson is designed to take place over the course of two consecutive days during a science lesson, which is 40 minutes long.


Learning Objectives

  1. Students will be able to match organ cut outs to their respective locations on the “Anatomy Apron.”
  2. Students will be able to identify the organs that are involved in the process of digestion.
  3. Students will be able to describe the digestion process using a visual.



Day 1: The first thing that would be given to the students would be a handout that illustrates the location of the five major organs that are involved in digestion (see fig.1).  I would go over the worksheet with the class and ask the children to read the names of the organs out loud and point to where these organs are located in their own bodies.  Next, I would give each of the children a saltine cracker and ask them to take a bite and describe what they are experiencing (i.e. chewing, swallowing, food getting soft and soggy, etc.).  After the students ate their saltines I would proceed to eat a cracker myself and explain in more detail what is happening as the food moves down my esophagus, into my stomach, and through the large and small intestines.  I would then read the book, The Digestive System by Helen Frost, to the class and have a class discussion about the new vocabulary words that were introduced in the book.  Finally, I would have the children place the organs involved in digestion on the “Anatomy Apron,” which would be worn by a member of the class.


Day 2:  Day two of the digestion lesson would begin with a review of the names locations of the organs involved in digestion by again using the “Anatomy Apron”.  Following that, I would read the book, Your Stomach by Anne Ylvisaker, to the class and discuss further what happens to their stomachs when they eat their favorite foods.  Following that discussion I would split the children up into pairs and give each pair an empty toilet paper roll.  The students would listen to the sounds that their partner’s stomach makes and describe the sounds to the class (this could be done before and after eating in order to compare the sounds made by a full stomach and an empty stomach).  To discuss the large and small intestine I would explain and demonstrate how long each of the intestines are when uncoiled (small is 20 feet, large is 5 feet) and discuss the different jobs of each.  Finally we would sing a song to the tune of “Three Blind Mice”:


Food we eat, food we eat,

pushing through 20 feet.

Small intestine sets the pace,

Large intestine gets the waste,

All is done, but not in haste,

Food we eat.


Finally, I would hand out the same worksheet that was given out the first day of the lesson.  However, this time the names of the organs would be missing (see fig.2).  This is an activity that would be altered as per the needs of individual children.  For example, the highest level students would not have a word bank and would be required to explain what each organ does, the mid-level students would have a word bank to assist them in writing the names of the organs in the blanks, and the target special education students would have to cut out the words and glue them on the correct lines.  I would make sure during this part of the lesson to have the children work in small cooperative groups that are comprised of students from each of the levels that are present in the class.




 New Jersey State Core Content Curriculum Standards


Descriptive Statement: The study of science must include the diversity, complexity, and interdependence of life on Earth. Students should know how organisms evolve, reproduce, and adapt to their environments.

Building upon knowledge and skills gained in preceding grades, by the end of Grade 4, students will:

A.     Matter, Energy and Organization in Living Systems


4. Describe the basic functions of the major systems of the human body including, but not limited to: the digestive system…



Descriptive Statement: Listening is the process of hearing, receiving, constructing meaning from, and responding to spoken and/or nonverbal messages. Through active listening, students gain understanding and appreciation of language and communication. Students call on different listening skills depending on their purpose for listening (e.g., listening to letter sounds to gain phonemic awareness, comprehending information, evaluating a message, appreciating a performance). Effective listeners are able to listen actively, restate, interpret, respond to, and evaluate increasingly complex messages. Students need to recognize that what they say, read, write, and view contributes to the content and quality of their listening experiences.

Building upon knowledge and skills gained in preceding grades, by the end of Grade 4, students will:

A. Active Listening

1. Listen actively for a variety of purposes such as enjoyment and obtaining information.

2. Listen attentively and critically.

3. Interpret vocabulary gained through listening.

B. Listening Comprehension

1. Demonstrate competence in active listening through comprehension of a story, interview, and oral report of an event or incident.

2. Develop listening strategies (e.g., asking questions and taking notes) to understand what is heard.

3. Demonstrate competence in active listening by interpreting and applying received information to new situations and solving problems.



Descriptive Statement: Oral language is a powerful tool for communicating, thinking, and learning. Through speaking and listening, students acquire the building blocks necessary to connect with others, develop vocabulary, and perceive the structure of the English language. An important goal in the language arts classroom is for students to speak confidently and fluently in a variety of situations.

Speaking is the process of expressing, transmitting, and exchanging information, ideas, and emotions. When students listen and talk to others about their ideas, they are able to clarify their thinking. Whether in informal interactions with others or in more formal settings, communicators are required to organize and deliver information clearly and adapt to their listeners. Students should have multiple opportunities to use speaking for a variety of purposes, including questioning, sharing information, telling a humorous story, or helping others to achieve goals. Students should recognize that what they hear, write, read, and view contributes to the content and quality of their oral language.

Building upon knowledge and skills gained in preceding grades, by the end of Grade 4, students will:

A. Discussion (small group and whole class)

2. Stay focused on a topic and ask relevant questions.

3. Take turns without dominating.

B. Questioning (Inquiry) and Contributing

3. Explore concepts by describing, narrating, or explaining how and why things happen.

4. Discuss information heard, offer personal opinions, and ask for restatement or general explanation to clarify meaning.

5. Reflect and evaluate information learned as a result of the inquiry.

C. Word Choice

3. Use appropriate vocabulary to support or clarify a message.

4. Adapt language to persuade, explain, or seek information.

D. Oral Presentation

6. Read aloud with fluency.



The learning objectives of this lesson plan will me assessed in the following manners:

  1. Written worksheet – utilizing scaffolding by prompting different students as necessary.
  2. “Lab Practical” – placement of the organs on the “Digestion Vest”
  3.  Teacher observations of students during the two-day lesson.




The major learning theory that will be employed during this lesson is scaffolding.  Scaffolding is a teaching technique that involves changing the level of support for learning.  In this case, both the teacher and more advanced peers will adjust the amount of guidance to fit a student’s performance.  This would be accomplished throughout the lesson but would be most evident when the students work in their cooperative groups on the fill-in-the-blank worksheet. The worksheets would be assigned to students in conjunction with their abilities, a form of scaffolding.  In addition, students would be working in groups with a wide range of ability levels, therefore the higher level students could assist that lower level students as needed, another form of scaffolding.  In my opinion, this lesson plan should be considered developmentally appropriate in that it is hands-on and interactive.  However, the information that needs to be conveyed in order for the students to succeed on the worksheet is taught and reviewed multiple times throughout the lesson.  This lesson is also designed for the many different learning styles that are present in most classrooms.  There is the speaking and listening part for students who are more auditory learners, the diagrams and illustrations in the looks for students who are more visual learners, and the lesson includes the “Anatomy Apron” for students who are more tactile learners.  Also, I feel that this lesson will lend itself to information transfer, which is the application of knowledge to new situations.  Transfer will occur because the concept of digestion is related to their every day lives multiple times throughout the lesson.  In addition, the students will listen to the noises that are made in their friend’s stomachs and hear the descriptions of the noises made in their own which will show them how their own stomachs work.     

Writing this lesson plan taught me how in depth and time consuming lesson planning really can be.  In addition to coming up with the idea for the plan, it is also necessary to gather all of the necessary materials.  For this particular lesson that meant finding two different books to read to the class in the library, locating the “Anatomy Apron” in the school, photocopying two different worksheets, and coming up with two hands-on activities to further illustrate digestion.  Writing this lesson plan has also taught me that it is necessary to rely on my past experiences to aid the process of lesson planning.  When I was thinking about what to teach, I relied on my memories of lessons taught to me when I was in elementary school and also lessons that I have seen taught in classroom where I am currently employed.  For this lesson plan, I picked the effective parts of two different lessons on digestion that I have observed and added my own personal teaching style to come up with a comprehensive and successful lesson.   Personally, I feel that lesson planning is going to be an exhausting process.  Being that I am in this program for my MAT in Special Education, I will be responsible for teaching not only science as in this particular lesson plan, but also reading, writing, math, and social studies.  As overwhelming the task of writing lesson plans for five different subjects seems, writing integrative and exciting plans in order to teach, and to see the excitement that is exuded   when my students realize that what they are learning is applicable to real life, is all the motivation that I need.