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Teaching high school students about the digestive system can be a challenge for a teacher when s/he wants to overcome rote learning of facts without a deeper understanding of the physiological processes inside the alimentary tract. A series of model experiments illustrating the journey of a sandwich was introduced into teaching high school biology. Using a computer equipped with a commercially available data-acquisition system and a couple of sensors, it was possible to illustrate the basic underlying physical and chemical principles of digestion to the students. Students were able to investigate, through hands-on activities, the chewing force of the jaws, importance of the mechanical breakdown of food, enzymatic activity of pepsin and amylase, antibacterial activity of hydrochloric acid, and importance of the villi for absorption. Students found the experiments interesting and helpful for understanding the digestive process. Furthermore, the results from testing indicated that the students had a deeper understanding of the physiological processes.
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