Grade Levels: 6-8, 9-12

In this digestive system lesson plan which is adaptable for grades 6-12, students use a free online science interactive to learn about the organs and organ substructures of the human digestive system. Students work in teams to identify the digestive system’s parts and structures, and drag and drop them to the correct position within the body to build a complete system. Students will also attempt case studies where a problem within the system must be linked to the structure affected.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Work collaboratively to identify the parts and structures of the human digestive system.
  2. Use an online interactive to build a complete digestive system and explore how the parts work together.
  3. Apply problem solving skills to various case studies, linking variables to the organ structure affected.


  • Interactive whiteboard
  • Computer with internet access
  • Four small dry erase boards, iPad/tablets, or large sheets of papers


This lesson plan features an interactive activity in which students learn about the human digestive system. Build-A-Body is a drag and drop interactive in which players choose organs from the organ tray and drag and drop them in their correct position within the body to build the digestive system. The interactive also includes case studies where a problem within the system must be linked to the structure affected. To prepare for this lesson, preview the Digestive System movie and the Build-A-Body interactive, and plan how to adapt the resources for your students' needs.

Lesson Procedure:

  1. Play the Digestive System movie to review what students have already learned about the digestive system.

  2. Project the Build-A-Body interactive for the class to see. Divide the class into four groups, and tell students they will have the chance to compete in teams to assemble a human digestive system. The game will be played in two sections: identifying parts and structures within the system, and attempting case studies where a problem with the system must be linked to the structure affected.

  3. Read the text to the left of the illustration, then choose one part of the digestive system that's listed on the right. Challenge students to work with their team to define the part, and write a definition on a small dry erase board, iPad/tablet, or even a sheet of paper. On your signal, have each team hold up their definition for you to read.

  4. Click on the body part and read the definition that's now displayed on the left. Compare the definitions to those that students generated. For quicker game play, the teacher can determine whether each team's definition is accurate enough to receive points (3 points for an excellent answer, 2 points for a good answer, 1 point for partially correct response, or 0 points for an inaccurate response.) For more in-depth game play, display all the team's answers at the front of the room and have the class analyze them together. You could rank the responses from most thorough and accurate to least, awarding the top-rated response 3 points, the second top-rated response 2 points, etc., with the fourth-place response earning no points. Keep track of each team's points on the board.

  5. After discussing each part of the digestive system, explain that you will be introducing case studies where a problem within the body must be linked to the structure affected. Click on one of the case studies at the top of the screen, and have each team work together to determine combinations to try. Each team should write down their strategy. Have one player from each team take turns coming up to the interactive whiteboard and entering their solution, and award points based on the the level of success each strategy produces. Alternatively (and to save time), you could assign a different variable to each group.

  6. Encourage students to reflect on the structures they explored through the interactive. You may want students to conduct further research about one of the problems raised in the case studies, and make additional real-world connections.

Extension Activities:

Students can explore and build the digestive system as well as other systems within the human body in BrainPOP's Guts and Bolts game. Be sure to check out all of our Health Games and Science Games for more learning resources.