Conversion of Food Into Matter and Energy Science Games
In this series of games, your students will learn how organisms digest food to get the nutrients they need. The Conversion of Food Into Matter and Energy learning objective — based on NGSS and state standards — delivers improved student engagement and academic performance in your classroom, as demonstrated by research.
Scroll down for a preview of this learning objective’s games and the concepts they drive home.
Every living thing, all the way down to the smallest single-celled organism, digests food. They break it down into smaller substances and extract nutrients that give them energy to grow and develop.
The human body uses three main macronutrients for energy: carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids. Carbohydrates break down into sugars, like glucose, that feed the cells. Proteins break down into amino acids, including essential amino acids that the body can’t make by itself. Lipids are made up of fatty acids, which build up stores of energy for the body. One type of lipids, called phospholipids, make up cells’ plasma membranes.
Food goes through two types of digestion. The first, mechanical digestion, involves the teeth tearing food apart and the stomach churning it to break it down. The second, chemical digestion, is when the body breaks down food into nutrients and absorbs them.
The digestive system contains enzymes that speed up the chemical reactions in this process, breaking chemical bonds to change the structure of molecules. Enzyme names usually end with “-ase,” such as amylase, the enzyme that breaks carbohydrates down into sugars.
Protein serves as a good example of how the body breaks larger molecules into smaller, usable substances. When protein-rich food goes into the stomach, the enzyme pepsin breaks it down into polypeptide strands. These proceed to the small intestine, where they are broken down into smaller peptides, and eventually amino acids, to be absorbed into the bloodstream.
A preview of each game in the learning objective is found below.
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