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  1. This is a summary of Conner Ringstad’s STEAM project on the human digestive system which includes a painting that compliments the written work. The painting provides a visual representation of the structures referenced in his essay which follows the path food travels through the human body. He painted an image in a minimalist style, of the human body in the classic anatomical position but with the face/head turned toward the right to achieve a clear cross section view of the digestive organs in the oral cavity. The organs mentioned are in their anatomical position as well as being brightly colored for easy identification.

    The digestive system is classified as the group of organs that manages both the mechanical and chemical digestion (or break down) of food but also the absorption of nutrients and the guided movement of food (and then waste) into, through, and then out of, the body. Intake and digestion begins at the mouth with both mechanical and chemical means. The food then moves to the stomach via the esophagus. Digestion starts in earnest within the stomach as digestive juices (strong acids) set to work and the food is churned turning it into a mix called, chyme.

    Other digestive organs also play key roles. The liver produces bile that is stored in the gallbladder (although the gallbladder is not necessary to digestion unless consuming high amounts of fat). The pancreas is essential as it produces insulin which is vital to utilize glucose. The stomach empties the chyme into the small intestine where a great deal more digestion takes place and much of the nutrient absorption occurs. The small intestine is critical to the digestive process as the macronutrients, vitamins, minerals, and water that is necessary for the body to function is absorbed here. Next the chyme is moved into the large intestine where any extra water is absorbed and waste is prepared to be expelled.


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