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Digestive tract explodes in A.P. biology

Using tubes, intravenous bags, human enzymes and a No. 2 hamburger combo meal from Burger King, students created a working human digestive system on Oct. 15.

Rod Atchley’s A.P. biology class furthered their knowledge of the digestive system by building a working model and then watching it digest food.

“The idea just hit me one day,” Atchley said of the project. “Hopefully it will make everything they’ve learned about the digestive system stick with them better.”

Students agreed that making the model helped them understand more about how the digestive system works.

“We used the real chemicals that the body uses,” Josh Powel, ’05, said. “When you accurately build what you’re studying it helps you understand it more.”

For the final part of the assignment, students had to spit a hamburger, fries and a Coke into a funnel leading to the project’s stomach, and watch it digest over two days.

“We had to cut up tubing and bags; I never knew the digestive system was so gross,” Karen Tolladay, ’05, said. “The hardest part for me was chewing and spitting the food.”

This project finalized the A.P. biology class’ study of the digestive system.

“To make the model work we had to find and mix enzymes and put on a lot of duct tape and sealant,” Alysa Muzny, ’05, said. “It was hard trying to figure out how to put it all together.”

However, during part of the final phase of digestion, the small intestine exploded as Atchley was changing the fluid in the bucket.

“”Let’s just say that I don’t want to clean up that kind of mess again,”” Atchley said. “”Now we can move on to how animals regulate their internal environment. I won’t have to clean up artificial waste off the floor in the next lab.””

For more information on the A.P biology class, contact Atchley at 297-9464, ext. 142.

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