Digestive System Notes
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Digestive System Notes Function: Breaks down food into smaller molecules that can be absorbed and used by the body. Click Me. http://www.mennellmedia.co.uk/VideoProjects/ToiletTales/ToiletTales.html. Major Organs: Mouth—where digestion begins

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Digestive System Notes Function:

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Digestive System Notes


  • Breaks down food into smaller molecules that can be absorbed and used by the body

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Major Organs:

  • Mouth—where digestion begins

  • Chewing is a mechanical process that breaks food into smaller particles

  • Saliva mixes with food and amylase (enzyme) breaks down carbohydrates into simpler molecules

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  • Esophagus—passage to stomach

  • Peristalsis—muscular contractions to move food through esophagus

  • Epiglottis—small flap that protects food from going down trachea; guides food into esophagus

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  • Stomach—large muscular sac that mixes food from esophagus with digestive fluids

  • Mucus is produced to lubricate and protect the stomach wall

  • Thick liquid of partially digested food is called chyme

  • Sphincters—valves at each end of the stomach that close to prevent food from escaping in either direction while being mixed by contractions of stomach wall

  • Heartburn (also indigestion or acid reflux) occurs when these valves (sphincters) do not close completely

  • Small Intestine—chyme enters small intestine from the stomach

  • Digestive fluids from pancreas and liver enter the small intestine

  • Food is chemically digested and absorbed into blood by villi—small fingerlike projections that line the small intestine

  • Large Intestine—chyme moves from small intestine into large intestine

  • Water is absorbed through the wall of the large intestine, leaving behind only undigested waste called feces

  • Waste is stored in the rectum until expelled from the body through the anus

Accessory Organs:

  • Pancreas—produces insulin to regulate blood sugar levels and produces enzymes to break down carbohydrates, proteins and fats

  • Liver—detoxifies chemicals

  • -produces bile—bile breaks down fats

  • Gall bladder—stores bile until it is needed

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Excretory (Urinary) System


  • To remove waste products from the blood

  • Helps maintain homeostasis by regulating water content of the blood

Major Organs:

  • Kidneys (renal = kidney)

    • Paired organs that remove cellular wastes, toxins and excess water from blood

    • Every 45 minutes kidneys filter all the blood in your body

  • Filtered blood leaves kidneys and returns to circulation

  • Sometimes excess salts or minerals in the urine crystallize and form kidney stones. When kidney stones block the ureters, they cause great pain.

  • Ureters—tubes that carry urine from kidneys to urinary bladder

  • Bladder—muscular sac where urine is stored temporarily before being excreted

  • Urethra—tube that carries urine from bladder to the outside

Structure of the Urinary (Excretory) System

Right Kidney

Left Kidney

Left Ureter



Endocrine System

  • Function:

  • Control, coordinate and regulate most of body’s activities by releasing hormones into the blood

  • Hormones are chemicals produced in one part of the body that affect another part of the body

Major Glands:

  • Pituitary gland

    • Master gland that controls all other endocrine glands

  • Secretes growth hormone during childhood (Tumors on pituitary glands can cause gigantism.)


  • Thyroid gland

    • Controls metabolic rate of all cells

  • Metabolism is the sum total of all chemical reactions that occur in living organisms in order to maintain life

  • Thymus—stimulates T-cell development for immune system

  • Adrenal gland—releases adrenalin and other chemicals to help body respond to stress (fight or flight response)

United Streaming – Adrenaline: Flight or Fight Response 6:36 min

  • Ovaries—produce estrogen and progesterone required for development of female sex characteristics and for development of eggs

  • Testes—produce testosterone for sperm production and development of male sex characteristics

Reproductive System


  • Formation of new individuals

  • Puberty—period of rapid growth and maturation during which reproductive system becomes fully functional

  • Female Reproductive Organs:

  • Ovaries

  • Paired organs that produce one mature egg per month

  • Ovulation is process of mature egg being released from ovary—usually 10-14 days after completion of menstrual cycle

  • Fallopian tubes

    • Tube through which egg travels from ovary to uterus

    • Egg can be fertilized as it travels through Fallopian tubes

  • Uterus—muscular organ where embryo develops

  • Vagina—birth canal that leads from uterus to outside of body

Male Reproductive Organs:

  • Testes—produce sperm

  • Scrotum—sac that holds the testes

  • Epididymis—where sperm mature and are stored

  • Vas deferens—tube through which sperm moves from epididymis to urethra

    • Eventually vas deferens merges with urethra

  • Penis—delivers sperm and urine to outside of body

  • Prostate gland and seminal vesicles

    • Produce seminal fluid to help sperm survive

    • Inflamed prostate gland squeezes urethra and causes problems with urination

Vas deferens

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