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

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

make-poo

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!

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?

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

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

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

Mashing the food to simulate teeth.

Mashing the food to simulate teeth.

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.

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

Blending the food and stomach acids together.

Blending the food and stomach acids together.

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.

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.

This is a messy step!

This is a messy step!

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.

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!

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

make-poo

If You Loved This Project Check out this Gross Science Book

(poll added March 2011)

A Few More Great Science Projects and Answers

© 2010 Rhonda Albom

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

Muhammad Hasham khan from pakistan on December 01, 2018:

Cool

Lorelei Cohen from Canada on August 13, 2015:

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

Rhonda Albom (author) from New Zealand on February 26, 2015:

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

Salwa on February 23, 2015:

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

Kathryn Grace from San Francisco on August 23, 2014:

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!

Rhonda Albom (author) from New Zealand on April 10, 2014:

@MelanieKaren: Thanks.

Rhonda Albom (author) from New Zealand on April 10, 2014:

@MelanieKaren: Thanks for the giggles. :)

Rhonda Albom (author) from New Zealand on April 10, 2014:

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

Lorelei Cohen from Canada on April 06, 2014:

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

Melanie Wilcox from Pennsylvania, USA on April 06, 2014:

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. :)

Melanie Wilcox from Pennsylvania, USA on April 06, 2014:

haha - This is great!

Rhonda Albom (author) from New Zealand on January 01, 2014:

@linhah lm: Do it with them, it's actually a blast.

Linda Hahn from California on December 13, 2013:

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

anonymous on September 04, 2013:

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

ian-patrick-716 on April 01, 2013:

Nice

Lee from Derbyshire, UK on February 01, 2013:

Looks disgusting BUT educational!

Stephanie Tietjen from Albuquerque, New Mexico on December 20, 2012:

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

anonymous on November 28, 2011:

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 on October 29, 2011:

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

MichaelTJones on July 29, 2011:

Nooooooo! why?!?! :))

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

anonymous on June 02, 2011:

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 on May 13, 2011:

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 on May 11, 2011:

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

Sarasota on May 10, 2011:

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

anonymous on May 09, 2011:

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

http://www.digestiveenzymessupplement.info

Miles_of_Smiles11 on April 21, 2011:

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 on April 19, 2011:

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

pinkhoodie on April 15, 2011:

Awesome POOP project

Kelly Klose from Elkhart,IN on April 13, 2011:

Great Article! Does this poo smell?

sdtechteacher on April 09, 2011:

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

nukemdomis lm on April 08, 2011:

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

distancelearningcourses on April 04, 2011:

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 on April 03, 2011:

Great lens! Congrats on LOTD!

Alohagems on April 03, 2011:

congrats on this one. you are such an inspiration

Christine Larsen from South Australia on March 31, 2011:

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

Wanda Fitzgerald from Central Florida on March 31, 2011:

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

Erin Hardison from Memphis, TN on March 31, 2011:

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 on March 31, 2011:

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

anonymous on March 30, 2011:

Awesome!! Thanks for sharing!

VSP on March 30, 2011:

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

FrankChapman LM on March 30, 2011:

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.

Bill from Gold Coast, Australia on March 30, 2011:

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 on March 30, 2011:

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! :)

DebMartin on March 29, 2011:

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

Chocolatealchemy from London, United Kingdom on March 29, 2011:

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 on March 29, 2011:

Great science project!

AdriennePetersen on March 29, 2011:

Very fun lens! Congrats on LOTD!

anonymous on March 29, 2011:

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 on March 29, 2011:

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 :)

anonymous on March 29, 2011:

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 on March 29, 2011:

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)

Fignewton37 on March 29, 2011:

Yeah, it's a disgusting topic but one people should be aware of how the digestive process works. A really great idea. The science is really intriguing. Great lens.

Tony Payne from Southampton, UK on March 29, 2011:

This is a brilliant project, and I can't think of many kids who wouldn't find this fascinating, as well as rather gross, but kids love that don't they. Don't you think it's rather amusing that a diagram of an anus always looks like the end of a balloon? Congratulations on Lens Of The Day and a fantastic educational lens.

miaponzo on March 29, 2011:

This is a great project.. albeit gross! :) congrats!

rewards4life info on March 28, 2011:

Such a cool project for children. Lensrolling to my "kids recipes" lens.

P.S. Congratulations on your feature. =)

KimGiancaterino on March 28, 2011:

Congratulations on LOTD!

KokoTravel on March 28, 2011:

Fun lense! Great way to teach and entertain children. Thanks!

hubleigh on March 28, 2011:

I saw a poo making factory in a museum in Japan (I think) on a documentary once. They had this machine and you fed it a meat pie. You could see the digestive process as the pie went through the machine as it was all completely transparent . Only problem was they used a much more scientific process with chemicals more closely resembling that of the human body. It ended up creating something that looked and smelt exactly like the real thing. And after you watched your poo come out you could have it vacuum wrapped and framed. This is a true story honest. My kids would love your little experiment but maybe Mum could do it with them when I'm not home.

happynutritionist on March 28, 2011:

Congrats on LOTD...what a great page...yucky, but great:-)

Rusty Quill on March 28, 2011:

Well that was.... interesting. :P Quite the fun experiment and learning tool - congrats on LotD! And all your purple star lenses. Wowza!

anonymous on March 28, 2011:

Very entertaining. Very worthy of LOTD. Thanks.

CCTjohn on March 28, 2011:

Great funny, very glad I read it!!

Diana Romaxx from Chicago on March 28, 2011:

Congratulations on your LOTD!

allthingsgreat11 on March 28, 2011:

very original idea for a lens! Congrats on making lens of the day :-)

lasertek lm on March 28, 2011:

Interesting project! I would definitely do this with my kids when they are much older. Thanks for sharing.

Paul Turner from Birmingham, Al. on March 28, 2011:

Listen, if a lens about poo can make Lotd, there is hope for me :) Well done!!

DecoratingEvents on March 28, 2011:

Congrats on your LotD Rhonda. It made me laugh!

MisTikkal on March 28, 2011:

The lens of the day said this had to be the most original - I agree lol. It must have been fun watching the kids faces initially, but what a fantastic way to teach. Major applause for a daring mum :)

legofun on March 28, 2011:

Congrats on the LOTD award.

Heard_Zazzle on March 28, 2011:

Your title certainly caught my eye! I had to check it out! Gross AND fun. :)

anonymous on March 28, 2011:

Congratulations on the Purple Star and the LOTD.

Delia on March 28, 2011:

Congratulations on LOTD! interesting lens!

MJSchrader on March 28, 2011:

Very unique! Cool way to teach children how the digestive system works :)

Angela_Rosas on March 28, 2011:

Sick! But In a good way

cinstress on March 28, 2011:

very cool!

Genesis Davies from Guatemala on March 28, 2011:

This is awesome! My son just got out of the hospital where he was operated on for an intestinal blockage and this experiment would be ideal for him to see how his intestines are working.

norma-holt on March 28, 2011:

Always was a winner, Congrats on LOTD and now featured on Squidoo LOTD Lenses.

catbehaviors on March 28, 2011:

Very cool project! I will have to try this sometime. Have you ever tried making litter box cake? Making poo just reminded me of that. :) Congrats on LotD!

Lee Hansen from Vermont on March 28, 2011:

I have visions of thousands of kids preparing this poo experiment to use on April Fools Day ... ewwwww.

Steve Dizmon from Nashville, TN on March 28, 2011:

Cool. Things can be learned on Squi-doo that just can't be found anywhere else. What a great venue. Actually, I like this. Grand children beware. Poo Paw is coming.

Rhonda Albom (author) from New Zealand on March 28, 2011:

@fotolady49 lm: The smell is mostly from the vinegar. I don't like the smell of vinegar, so I think it stinks.

fotolady49 lm on March 28, 2011:

Yes I'm grossed out but in a 'good way' this is a hoot and I can't wait to try it with my soon to be eleven year old grandson and a few of his friends. At least it is 'clean' poo and hopefully no e-Coli. One big question....HOW BAD DOES IT SMELL? Congrats on LOTD.

anonymous on March 28, 2011:

What a totally unique way to get kids to learn while having fun! Congratulations on your Lens of the Day!

tandemonimom lm on March 28, 2011:

Ewww, gross! LOL - congrats on LOTD!

Wedding Mom on March 28, 2011:

Nothing better than a good gross science project to grab kids attention. Congrats on the LOTD!

pacrapacma lm on March 28, 2011:

Well deserving LOTD!!!! I have three kids in elementary school. I've explained digestion to them. This project looks like a great way to really explain it. The work and mess just might be worth it for my family. They love gross. Very nice lens!

Faye Rutledge from Concord VA on March 28, 2011:

Congratulations on LotD!!

Rhonda Albom (author) from New Zealand on March 28, 2011:

@jasminesphotogr: Thanks! I recently converted that module from text to the new text list.

Debbie from England on March 28, 2011:

What an inventive way to teach children science! Congrats on a well deserved LOTD!

Michey LM on March 28, 2011:

Hi! This is fun LOTD, congrats to you

Wonder-V on March 28, 2011:

This is awesome! makes me wish I still taught pre-school...would be a great project for the pre-k or school age kids when they are off school! I will approach my middle schoolers with it! Thanks!

elyria on March 28, 2011:

Quite unique and interesting! Congrats on LOTD!

NoYouAreNot on March 28, 2011:

Marvellous! Amazing! Excellent! Absolutely gross! Superbly educational!

My little one is not so little anymore, but I know more than a few friends' kids who would be delighted in getting grossed out like this.

Originality and laugh are the best ways of learning. I wish schools were more like that!

Kaafscorner on March 28, 2011:

Congrats on LOTD - well deserved even if it's about poo!

MomTips on March 28, 2011:

Thank You!

Dianne Loomos on March 28, 2011:

Congrats on LOTD. I'm sure my homeschooled boys would have appreciated this project. ;-)

TheRatRaceRebel1 on March 28, 2011:

I must say I never thought I'd be learning how to "Make Poo" today but I'm sure glad I did. Gonna try this with my daughter. Excellent way to engage kids in learning about their bodies.

Morganific on March 28, 2011:

Just when I thought I would struggle with an interesting lens topic, you helped move it along,...without fiber to! Great original lens that you all put alot of work into.

jasminesphotogr on March 28, 2011:

Very interesting lens! Congrats on the LOTD. Under "A Few Things To Keep In Mind Before We Make Poo" you listed two of the things twice.

psolis on March 28, 2011:

Great lens! congrats on LOTD