PUBLISHED : Thursday, 11 January, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 11 January, 2007, 12:00am

1. Starting in the brain, before you eat

(chemicals, food, mouth)

Food ... As soon as you smell it, see it and think about it, digestion begins!

Saliva (suh-lye-vuh) begins to form in your ___________. As you chew, the saliva breaks down the __________ in the __________, helping to make it mushy and easy to swallow.

2. Ready to swallow

(second, throat, tongue)

Your ________ pushes a tiny bit of chewed-up food called a bolus (bow-lus) toward the back of your ___________ and into the opening of your oesophagus, the ___________ part of the digestive tract.

3. The oesophagus (uh-soh-fuh-gus)

(move, stomach, through)

It is a stretchy pipe about 25 centimetres long. It moves food from the back of your throat to your _________. Muscles in the walls of the oesophagus _____ in waves to squeeze food ________ the oesophagus.

4. Your stomach

(end, shaped, store)

Is attached to the _____ of the oesophagus. It's a stretchy sack ______ like the letter J. Your stomach (stuh-muk) has three important jobs: to _____the food you've eaten, to break down the food into a liquid mixture, and to empty that liquid mixture into the small intestine.

The stomach also contains gastric (gas-trik) juices. These help kill any bacteria that might be in the food.

5. Small intestine

(absorb, long, vitamins)

It can measure from 4-7 metres long!

The small intestine (in-tes-tin or in-tes-tine) is a ______tube that's about 3.5 to 5 centimetres in diameter. It is located beneath your stomach. It breaks down the food so your body can ________ all the _________, minerals, proteins, carbohydrates, and fats.

Activity: Measure a piece of string to see how long your small intestine is.

6. More organs

The pancreas (pan-kree-us), liver, and gallbladder send different juices to the first part of the small intestine. Food can spend up to four hours in the small intestine. The juices help the food become thin and watery. The nutrients can then pass from the intestine into the blood.

Find out more about the pancreas, liver and gallbladder

7. The liver

It filters out and processes harmful substances and waste, turning some of the waste into more bile. The leftover waste - any food that your body can't use - goes on to the large intestine.

8. Large intestine

It is fatter - but shorter - than the small intestine and it's almost the last stop. It would measure about

1.5 metres if you stretched it out.

9. Colon

Before the waste leaves your body, it passes through the part of the large intestine called the colon (coh-lun), your last chance to absorb the water and nutrients into the blood.

As the water leaves the waste product, what's left gets harder and harder as it moves along, until it becomes a solid called faeces (fee-sees).

10. Rectum

The large intestine pushes the faeces into the rectum (rek-tum), the last stop, for storage.

Finally, it is passed out of the body through the anus (ay-nus).

Where does it end up? ______________


You can help your digestive system run smoothly by drinking plenty of water and eating a healthy diet which includes foods rich in fibre.

What foods are high in fibre? _______________________________________


See online animations of how your gastric secretion system works at www.maxanim.com



Page 9: 1. mouth, chemicals, food; 2. tongue, throat, second; 3.stomach, move, through; 4. end, shaped, store; 5. long, absorb, vitamins; 10. the toilet; 11. fruits, vegetables, and whole grains