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Paws Point 3
Personal Hygiene And Digestion
Inspector Paws Science Enquiry Resource
                                                          Paws Point 3 - Personal Hygiene And Digestion

Paws point 3
Personal Hygiene and Digestion

Teacher’s Notes                                                     2

  • Teacher’s Summary                                               2

  • Classroom Activities Summary                                    2

  • Support Materials Summary                                       2

  • Background Information                                          3

Classroom Activities                                                3

  • Science Enquiry 1: Germ Travel                                  3

  • Science Enquiry 2: Bountiful Bacteria                           4

  • Science Enquiry 3: Spreading Disease                            4

  • Science Enquiry 4: Palm Close Up!                               4

  • Science Enquiry 5: Local Action                                 5

Support Materials                                                   6

  • The Digestive Journey Factsheet (Teacher Sheet)                 6

  • The Digestive Journey (Pupil Sheet)                             8

  • What About The Dog’s Dinner? (Pupil Sheet)                      9

  • Digestive Juice Jive! (PE Activity)                             10

  • Dog Health Hazards Factsheet (Teacher Sheet)                    11

  • Hydrate for Health (Teacher Sheet)                              12

                                                          Paws Point 3 - Personal Hygiene And Digestion

Teacher’s Notes

Teacher’s Summary
An important topic to reinforce the purpose of personal hygiene, the activities and fact sheets in
this section highlight the ease with which germs and bacteria travel. Here it is often more fruitful
if the purpose of the activities is not explicit, but that it evolves and is drawn from pupil discussion
of the health hazards fact sheet. With this in mind you may feel it more appropriate to introduce
pupils to the hazards before undertaking the activities.

Classroom Activities Summary
Science Enquiry 1: Germ Travel (pre-session preparation required)
Simple but fun activity to help pupils to see the importance of washing their hands.

Science Enquiry 2: Bountiful Bacteria (pre-session preparation required)
Simple observational activity to facilitate pupil investigation of invisible bacteria.

Science Enquiry 3: Spreading Disease (pre-session preparation required)
Practical activity prompting pupil enquiry and wider exploration of how disease is spread from one
fruit to another, between people and from dogs and other pets to humans.

Science Enquiry 4: Palm Close Up! (pre-session preparation required)
A fun activity to raise awareness of the complexities of personal hygiene. Pupils could consider the
practicalities of our hand design. What do our hands enable us to do compared to a dog’s paw?

Science Enquiry 5: Local Action (PC access required)
Online research activity. Pupils use researched information to design a poster/advertising campaign
to encourage local dog owners to behave responsibly.

Support Materials Summary
The Digestive Journey Factsheet
Clear child friendly explanation of key scientific vocabulary associated with our digestive system.

‘The Digestive Journey’ and ‘What About The Dog’s Dinner?’ Worksheets
Diagrammatic worksheets for pupils to consolidate their understanding of the digestive processes
of humans and dogs. This sheet provides a visual comparison for the identification and discussion
of similarities and differences.

                                                         Paws Point 3 - Personal Hygiene And Digestion

Digestive Juice Jive!
Practical physical activity linking science objectives to the P.E. curriculum for a more interactive
approach to learning about life processes.

Dog Health Hazards - Factsheet
Simple factsheet relating the personal hygiene activity messages to dog ownership.

Hydrate For Health - Factsheet
Fact sheet supporting discussions about hydration. Emphasising the importance of fresh water for
both man and his dog.

Background Information
Using the activities and factsheets in this section pupils will learn all about digestion and the
importance of hydration and personal hygiene for a healthy body.

As you can see from the Inspector Paws film, dogs spend much of their time outdoors investigating
interesting smells and finding out who’s out and about and what’s going on in the neighbourhood.

Unfortunately, the neighbourhood news may not be the only thing your dog picks up on his walk!
Lots of the bacteria and parasites that cause disease are too small to see without the aid of a
microscope. The following science activities have been designed to show you how important it
is to wash your hands and understand how human and canine digestive systems work, keeping
yourselves and your pets in tip top condition.

Use the ‘Dog Health Hazards’ factsheet to support pupil discussions, developing the purpose of the
personal hygiene science enquiry within the context of responsible dog ownership and care.

Classroom Activities

Science Enquiry 1: Germ Travel

You will need: a dish of glitter and a dish of flour.

Split the class into 5 groups. Have one group place their hands in the glitter dish and another group
place their hands in the flour. Everyone else starts with clean hands. Pupils mingle around the room
greeting each other by shaking hands as they go. After about 5 minutes when the groups are
thoroughly mixed up, or everyone has shaken hands with at least four other people, ask your pupils
to look at their hands and sit down if they have either glitter or flour, or both on them. Assuming
most of the class is seated, discuss how contact with others and animals can spread germs and
brainstorm ways to avoid germs and the spread of germs.

                                                         Paws Point 3 - Personal Hygiene And Digestion

Repeat the activity, only this time have the pupils whose hands have flour or glitter on them wash
their hands before they shake hands with other groups. What impact does washing hands have on
the spread of glitter, flour, invisible bacteria?

Science Enquiry 2: Bountiful Bacteria
You will need: Enough blanched potato slices (2 for each pupil), labels, small, sealable plastic bags
(2 for each pupil).

Slice a potato, and blanch it to kill any germs that may be on the potato already. After lunch or
break, before pupils have washed their hands have them each handle a small slice of potato. Then,
have students wash their hands using proper technique and handle another potato slice. Put each
slice in a separate, labelled plastic bag. After about five days, have students draw both slices in their
science books. What is difference between the potato slices? Discuss why the slices are different?
On the potato handled with clean hands, the bacteria will have multiplied more slowly. Ask pupils
to compare their potato slices with others. Who had the dirtiest hands? How can you tell?

Science Enquiry 3: Spreading Disease
You will need: 3 apples (1 bruised/rotten and 2 un-bruised/fresh), labels, a cocktail stick or tooth

Explain to the class that the experiment you are about to conduct will help pupils see one way
in which disease can spread. Drop an apple or find one that’s already starting to rot. Insert a
cocktail stick/toothpick into the rotten part of the apple and then insert the same end into another
un-bruised fresh apple. Repeat the exercise, only this time wash the cocktail stick/toothpick well
with soap before inserting it into the second un-bruised/fresh apple. Label the apples diseased,
unwashed contamination, washed contamination and put to one side for a few days. Pupils record
observations and discuss results. Did the apples behave differently? The apple contaminated with
the washed cocktail stick/toothpick should show less signs of disease than the apple infected with
the unwashed cocktail stick/toothpick.

Science Enquiry 4: Palm Close Up!
You will need: paper, pencils and a magnifying glass for each pupil, watered down paint/ink for

Pupils look at their hands through a magnifying glass and use their observations to draw a “map”
of their hands. Discuss what they have observed and highlight all the nooks and crannies where
germs might remain unwashed including under their nails. Using the diluted paint or ink extend
the activity by having your pupils make handprints observing the lines and patterns on their printed
palms. Washing the ink from their hands after the activity will reinforce the process of washing
their hands properly as they endeavour to remove all trace of paint/ink.

                                                       Paws Point 3 - Personal Hygiene And Digestion

Once you have completed your science enquiry experiments encourage pupils to create their own
rules for hand washing using the following as a guide to the minimum:

I need to remember to wash my hands carefully…..

     • before, during, and after food preparation
     • before I eat
     • after using the bathroom
     • after touching animals or their waste
     • after playing outside
     • after being around someone who is sick
     • after coughing or blowing my nose.

Science Enquiry 5: Local Action
Split the class into pairs or small groups and allow time for them to consider the focus of their Dogs
Trust advertising campaign.

Using ICT pupils log on to the Dogs Trust website at to research
some of the more common, preventable canine ailments, or to find out more about what it takes
to be a responsible dog owner.

Pupils use the online factsheets and information to design a poster or advertising campaign to
encourage responsible dog owners to get their dog’s health checked and vaccinated against
common doggy diseases and/or to raise awareness for dog owners to ‘Scoop The Poop’ to prevent
the spread of parasites and disease to humans and other animals.

Posters could be displayed around the school grounds to encourage dog owners to behave
responsibly in and around your local area.

                                                        Paws Point 3 - Personal Hygiene And Digestion

Support Materials

The Digestive Journey Factsheet
Your digestive system starts working from the point you swallow your food and will continue to
work on your chewed-up lunch for the next few hours - or sometimes even days - depending upon
what you have eaten. This process is called digestion. It allows your body to get the nutrients and
energy it needs from the food you eat. Follow the story of your digestive system then see if you
can label the diagram.

1. Saliva - even before you eat, when you smell a tasty food, see it, or even think about it, you
begin to produce saliva, which is the start of the digestive process. Saliva or spit begins to form in
your mouth in preparation for when you eat, the saliva breaks down the chemicals in the food a
bit, which helps make the food mushy and easy to swallow. Your tongue helps out, pushing the
food around while you chew with your teeth. When you are ready to swallow, the tongue pushes
the chewed up food toward the back of your throat and into the opening of your oesophagus, the
tube through which food travels from your throat to your stomach.

2. The Oesophagus - the oesophagus is a stretchy pipe that’s about 25 cm long that moves food
from the back of your throat to your stomach. Once food has entered the oesophagus, it doesn’t
just drop right into your stomach; instead it is pushed and squeezed along by lots of muscles in the
walls of the oesophagus. On average each mouthful of food takes about 2 or 3 seconds to reach
your stomach.

3. The Stomach - your stomach is the stretchy ‘J - shaped sack’ attached to the end of the
oesophagus. It has three important jobs:
     • to store and process the food you have eaten
     • to break down the food into a liquid mixture, killing harmful bacteria
     • to slowly empty that liquid mixture into the small intestine.

The stomach is like a cement mixer, churning and mashing together all the small bits of food that
came down the oesophagus. It does this with help from the strong muscles in the walls of the
stomach and gastric juices that also come from the stomach’s walls. In addition to breaking down
food, gastric juices also help kill bacteria that might be in the eaten food.

4. The Small Intestine - the small intestine is a long tube that’s about 4 cm wide and 6 m long! So
it’s not really small at all! The small intestine is packed tightly inside you beneath your stomach. The
small intestine continues to break down the food mixture even more so your body can absorb all
the vitamins, minerals, proteins, carbohydrates, and fats with a little help from the pancreas, liver,
and gallbladder. These organs together send different juices to the first part of the small intestine.
These juices help to digest food and allow the body to absorb nutrients. The pancreas makes juices
that help the body digest fats and protein. A juice from the liver called bile helps to absorb fats into
the bloodstream and the gallbladder stores bile until the body needs it.

                                                        Paws Point 3 - Personal Hygiene And Digestion

Your food may spend as long as 4 hours in the small intestine and will become a very thin, watery
mixture. At the end of your food’s journey, all the nutrients will be absorbed into the blood through
the liver and distributed to where they are needed. The leftover waste and remnants of the food
that your body can’t use goes on to the large intestine.

5. The Liver - the nutrient-rich blood comes directly to the liver for processing. The liver filters out
harmful substances or wastes, turning some of the waste into more bile. The liver even helps figure
out how many nutrients will go to the rest of the body, and how many will stay behind in storage.
For example, the liver stores certain vitamins and sugars your body uses for energy, for when you
need it.

6. The Large Intestine - the large intestine can be between 7 and 10 cm wide. Like the small
intestine, it is packed into the body, and would measure about 1.5 m in length, if you spread it out.
The large intestine has a tiny tube with a closed end coming off it called the appendix that is part of
the digestive tract, but it doesn’t seem to do anything, though it can cause big problems, because
it sometimes gets infected and needs to be removed. After most of the nutrients are removed from
the food mixture, there is waste left over - stuff your body can’t use. This stuff needs to be passed
out of the body. Before it goes, it passes through the part of the large intestine called the colon,
which is where the body gets its last chance to absorb the water and some minerals into the blood.
As the water leaves the waste product, what’s left gets harder and harder as it keeps moving along,
until it becomes a solid. Solid waste leaves the body as poo. The large intestine pushes the poo into
the rectum, the very last stop on the digestive tract. The solid waste stays here until you are ready
to go to the bathroom. When you go to the bathroom, you are getting rid of this solid waste by
pushing it through the anus into the toilet. Excess water and liquid waste follows a similar process
and is disposed of via the bladder.

Keeping your digestive system healthy means eating a balanced diet and drinking regularly!

                                          Paws Point 3 - Personal Hygiene And Digestion

The Digestive Journey
Labels to include:
     • Mouth             Label the diagram and record the
                         important role each body part plays
     • Tongue
                         in the digestive journey of our food.
     • Oesophagus
     • Stomach
     • Small Intestine
     • Large Intestine
     • Liver

                                                       Paws Point 3 - Personal Hygiene And Digestion

What About The Dog’s Dinner?
A dog’s digestive system works in exactly the same way as ours except the dog’s food travels
horizontally through the dog’s digestive system, which takes longer to process food, helping dogs
to sustain themselves for longer between meals.

Just like us a dog needs a nutritionally balanced diet, but most dogs only eat twice a day and
sometimes only once.

                                     Now label the diagram below and
Labels to include:                   discuss similarities and differences
                                     to our digestive system.
Small Intestine
Large Intestine

                                                         Paws Point 3 - Personal Hygiene And Digestion

Digestive Juice Jive!
Now you’ve learned all about your digestive system why not use your own bodies in Music, Drama
or P.E. to create a digestive juices jive. Think of how each part of your digestive system processes
and transports your food. Create different sounds and actions for each stage of the digestive
process. Below are some whole class suggestions, but often children enjoy the creativity of a more
open ended task, so feel free to split them into smaller groups and use their imaginations!

1. Saliva Rush - split the class in half. Have half the children link hands to form a circle (the inside
of the mouth). Split the other half into two groups:
     • The first group can rush in between the children in the circle and circulate inside as an inner
       circle to simulate the saliva being generated in response to food.
     • The second group link up in threes and fours to enter the circle through a designated
       opening, as mouthfuls of food ready to be chewed up by the children in the original circle
       who can move in and out to simulate chewing and the saliva group who continue to

2. Down The Oesophagus – line the class up in twos and ask them to link hands with their
partner. Using a ball as a small piece of food children must work together to pass the ball along in
between the lines, balanced on their linked hands.

3. Round And Round In The Stomach – ask the class to find a space and create their own
movement to simulate the churning, mixing and digesting that goes on in their stomachs to an
appropriate music, percussion accompaniment. Select groups of children to perform to the class.

4. Through The Small And Large Intestine – using P.E. apparatus create a zigzag journey
through the small intestine encouraging children to move slowly along the apparatus, crawling and
sliding as though they were being squeezed along as the body absorbs all the remaining nutrients
from the food into the liver, blood stream and pancreas before passing waste as urine and poo.

N.B. Always remember to warm up and cool down at the start of each session. Don’t forget to risk
assess any activity involving apparatus.

                                                         Paws Point 3 - Personal Hygiene And Digestion

Dog Health Hazards
Unlike humans, dogs cannot flush their poo down the toilet to dispose of their waste hygienically. It
is vital that a dog’s owner picks up the dog’s poo and disposes of it in the designated dog poo bins
located in and around our open public spaces.

Dog poo can carry diseases which are harmful to humans; the most dangerous of these are
caused by worms. There are several different types of worms, which may be carried by your dog
most of which are infectious to humans. You need to worm your dog regularly to reduce the risk
of infection.

Effective flea control is important. Fleas carry diseases and help the spread from one species to
another e.g. between wildlife and domestic cats and dogs.

Worming your dog once every three months should treat any existing infection and help to prevent

All dog poo should be disposed of promptly and appropriately, especially in public areas,
playgrounds and parks.

You should always wash your hands when you have finished playing with your pet. Never let your
dog lick your face.

Vaccinations are the single most important part of your dog’s health care.

Your dog’s first visit to the vet often occurs at eight weeks of age. This is when maternal antibody
protection passed by the bitch to the puppy is beginning to decrease below a protective level. The
first visit usually includes a physical examination, parasite (fleas and worms) control and the initial
vaccinations against the important infectious diseases. This is also the best opportunity for you to
ask any questions you may have concerning your dog.

                                                       Paws Point 3 - Personal Hygiene And Digestion

Hydrate for Health
What do you, the trees and plants, a dog and all other living creatures have in common? We all
need water. Without water, your body would stop working properly. Water makes up more than
half of your body weight and a person can’t survive for more than a few days without it. Why?
Your body has lots of important jobs and it needs water to do many of them. For instance, your
blood, which contains a lot of water, carries oxygen to all the cells of your body. Without oxygen,
those tiny cells would die and your body would stop working.

Water also helps your immune system, which helps you fight off illness, function effectively. You
need water to digest your food (digestive juices) and get rid of waste as urine and poo. Water is
also the main ingredient in sweat.
Water is so important; you need to make sure you drink plenty every day. If you’re playing sports, a
game, or just playing hard, you need to drink water before, during, and after your activity. You feel
thirsty when your body begins to feel dehydrated (a shortage of fluid). Feeling thirsty is only one
the first sign of dehydration if you don’t drink enough then you will become ill and may even die.
People become dehydrated more quickly in hot weather because they loose water through sweat,
so remember to keep that water bottle handy when the weather warms up!

Your body can help you stay properly hydrated by regulating the amount of water in your system.
The body can hold on to water when you don’t have enough or get rid of it if you have too much.
If your urine has ever been very light yellow, your body might have been getting rid of excess water.
When your urine is very dark yellow, it’s holding on to water, so it’s probably time to drink up.
Your dog must always have access to fresh water, especially after eating, a long walk or in hot
weather. You should never leave your dog in the car. Cars are made of metal which absorbs heat
really quickly. Even on a mild day the inside of a car can become extremely hot and your dog will
dehydrate very quickly. Dogs don’t sweat as efficiently as humans and can easily over heat if they
spend too long in the sun.