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Animals | Activity 5.3

Activity 5.3: Explaining How Cows Grow: Digestion (40 min)

Target Student Performance

Students explain how matter moves and changes and how energy changes during digestion in a cow (connecting macroscopic observations with atomic-molecular models and using the principles of conservation of matter and energy).

ResourcesYou Provide

Resources Provided

Resources Provided


Print one copy of the 5.3 Explanations Tool for Cow Digestion and and 5.3 How do Digest Food? Reading (if you choose to use it) for each student. Prepare a computer and a projector to display the PPT. Print and hang the Digestion and Biosynthesis 11 x 17 Posters. In this activity, your students will need to use the Three Questions Explanation Checklist on the back of the Three Questions Handout. Be sure to have this available to students, and see the notes in the Modifications at the end of the Activity for ideas about how to use it.


1. Use the instructional model to show students where they are in the course of the unit.


Use 5.3 Grading the Explanations Tools for Cow Digestion to grade student responses. This worksheet has “grading” in the title (instead of “assessing”) because at this point, students can be held accountable for correct answers. If students are still struggling with these concepts, you may want to revisit parts of the activity they are finding difficult. Use Assessing the Animals Matter Tracing Tool to grade the tracing tool.

Extending the Learning