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Amazing Anatomy: Digestion

Workshop at the Museum

© Public Domain


Spotted Owl, Strix occidentalis.

Recommended for
Ontario: grade 5
Quebec: elementary cycle 3.

Amazing Anatomy is a hands-on, inquiry-based exploration of mammalian anatomy and what it reveals about the way mammals have adapted to their habitats.

Students examine dentition, digestive systems, and scat replicas to make links between these physical adaptations and their place in the food web.

Students learn about the principles of digestion and the conversion of food to energy. They study the digestive systems of several animals including a rabbit, a pigeon, a pig and a ruminant, as well as a human. Students engage in a real anatomy lesson.

Duration: 50 minutes.

Curriculum links (link goes to the bottom of the page).


  • October 3, 2017 – June 14, 2018
  • Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays
  • Workshop starting time: 9:45 am, 11 am, 12:15 pm.


  • $9 per student (tax not included)
  • Second workshop on the same day: $4 per student (tax not included)
  • See if your class qualifies for Nature Express, our financial-aid programme.

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The class is divided into six working groups and each group sits together at a lab table. Each group has a tool case for dissecting an owl pellet, a set of skulls (rabbit, deer, owl, coyote, shrew, black bear and human), paper and pencils.

The programme unfolds in three steps:

  1. Examine mammalian dentition
  2. Examine the mechanics of digestive systems
  3. Dissect the products of digestion (pellets).

To culminate the activity, student groups make presentations of their hypothesis and findings to their colleagues.

Curriculum Links—Ontario

Grade 5

Science and Technology

Understanding Life Systems: Human Organ Systems

Understanding Basic Concepts

  • Identify major systems in the human body and describe their roles and interrelationships.
  • Describe the basic structure and function of major organs in the digestive system.

Curriculum Links—Quebec

Elementary Cycle 3

Mathematics, Science and Technology

Competency 1: To propose explanations for or solutions to scientific or technological problems

Essential Knowledges / Living Things / Matter

  • Metabolism of plants and animals, Anatomy of animals.

Essential Knowledges / Living Things / Systems and Interaction

  • Interaction between living organisms and their environment.

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