The Digestion Waterworks Vacation

It’s vacation time, but the Cumberland kids,can’t start their vacation until they

complete their summer learning assignment: How do mammals digest their food?

“Are you dressed and ready for your new assignment? I’m sure you will find this a

really great way to start your summer vacation.” said Mr. Burp.

Everyone entered the Digestion Waterworks Waterpark at the giant mouth. ”All goggles

on Everyone into a raft and hold on tight. We are going to follow digestion from the

beginning to the end!”,shouted Mr. Burp.

“We’re ready Mr. Burp!”,shouted Jon, Lisa, Mateo and Wan.

“Why is this one moving up, down and side to side with water shooting everywhere?”,

asked Lisa.

“Digestion begins in the mouth with chewing and saliva or what you call spit. Saliva

wets and begins to break down the food that is ripped and mashed by the teeth when

there is chewing. When the process is complete, the tongue pushes the food down the

tube called the esophagus(ee-sof-uh-gus)—and here we gooooo!!! AHHHH!!!”,screamed

Mr. Burp.

“The first stop is the stomach where more liquids called acids,enzymes hormones and

water are added to the food to break it down even further.”,said Mr.Burp.

“This feels like a big washing machine!,said Wan.

“Some foods are quickly processed and stored in the liver for later use. The liver

is a warehouse and a filter. It stores packets of food that are processed into sugar

for the body and collects the parts that cannot be used by the body for disposal

later. The rest goes to the small intestine.”, said Mr. Burp.

“Uh-Oh! Now it’s drain time!”,said Wan.

“Wheeee!”,squealed Lisa.

“We are now entering the small intestines it is twenty two feet long in humans.”,

explained Mr. Burp.

“Most of your food is absorbed in the small intestines.”,stated Mr.Burp.

“Hey, this is like passing through a carwash! We keep passing through those fringe

curtains!”,yelled Jon.

“Those things you call “fringe curtains are called villi(vill-eye) in the small

intestine. The liquid food now passes through the villi into the bloodstream to the

muscles and tissues by the red blood cells.”, yelled Mr. Burp.

“Whoa! Where are we now?, asked Mateo.

“It sure is dark! Watch that curve!”, yelled Lisa.

“You are now in the large intestine. This is where some of the water you drink and

water from the food you eat is collected and absorbed by the body.”,explained Mr.


“It’s the real waterworks of the body!”,said Mateo.

“Yes. You are right, Mateo!”,said Mr. Burp. “It is also where the solid waste is

processed for disposal. The water from the large intestine is used to form stool or

feces(fee-sees) that is passed out of the body through the anus(A-nus).”

“Here we go!” yelled Jon, Lisa, Mateo and Wan as their raft shot out into a large

pool of fresh water. Wan said,”And now we are in a large toilet bowl waiting to be

flushed away!”

“That’s right, Wan!”,said Mr. Burp.”And that‘s how we digest food. Are you ready

for your summer vacation?”

“YEAH!”, shouted Jon, Lisa, Mateo and Wan.



The Cave of the Ear

“Wow, Mr. Burp! Another learning adventure? We have our cave exploring equipment ready to go. The spelunking gear is ready!”, said Jon.

“Yes, today, away we go into the ear and look at how it works!”, said Mr. Burp.”Is everyone attached to your tethers? We don’t want to lose anybody.”

“Yes Mr. Burp!” the group said.

“We will start with the auricle. The outer ear that directs sound. Headlights on as we go deep into the ear!” whispered Mr. Burp.

“Hey! There’s this sticky, slippery stuff on the bottom! I can hardly keep from falling!”, cried Lisa.

“That’s cerumen or what you call ear wax. It keeps insects and dirt from collecting on the eardrum or the tympanic membrane.”, explained Mr. Burp.

“There’s hair all around here on the top, the walls and the bottom. It’s like walking through a carwash!” said Jon.

“The hair helps push the wax and dirt out of the ear canal.”, said Mr. Burp.”Sometimes it builds up and needs a doctor to help move it out, Wan”.

“That is the tympanic membrane, also known as the eardrum. See it move as we talk?, asked Mr. Burp.

“What’s that on the other side of it?”,asked Jon.

“That is what is called the middle ear. We will explore further. Normally we would not be able to pass through the tympanic membrane, but we will today. Step through this hole.”, said Mr. Burp.

“When the tympanic membrane vibrates or shakes, it makes the three bones of the middle ear move. The bone next to tympanic membrane is the malleus or hammer, which strikes the incus or anvil which shakes the stapes or stirrup. The stirrup vibrates the hairs in the vestibule of the cochlea.”, said Mr. Burp.

“That big snail looking thing is the cochlea?”, asked Lisa.

“Yes.”, said Mr. Burp.”The cochlea is the beginning of the inner ear. There are many hairs in the liquid inside the cochlea that move the auditory nerve which goes to the brain and is recognized as sound.”

“What’s that big tunnel at the bottom of the middle ear under the bones?”, asked Mateo.

“That is called the eustachian (you-stay-shun) tube. It keeps the middle ear dry and maintains the air pressure so that the tympanic membrane and the bones of the ear vibrate without any problems.”, said Mr.Burp.

“Where does it end?”, asked Wan.

“Well, this is how we will leave, so let’s find out!”, said Mr. Burp. “Hold on to your tethers as we slowly descend! When you yawn, this tube opens to let a small amount of air in. It’s that “pop” you hear when flying on an airplane. The air it lets in keeps the middle ear bones dry and keeps the tympanic membrane from rupturing.”

“Weeeeee!”, said Lisa. “That was a straight drop with no curves.”

“Correction. That was a slightly slanted drop without curves.”, said Mr. Burp.

“We are in the mouth!”, said Jon.

“What happens when someone can’t hear?”, asked Mateo.

“It can have three causes or a mixture,” explained Mr. Burp. “The tympanic membrane can be torn as it was when we entered the middle ear, or the bones can become gooey and sticky and won’t vibrate.This is what happens with a cold, allergies or an ear infection. They also will not vibrate if they are under water. This usually happens with allergies or a torn tympanic membrane.”

“If the nerve is damaged,which can be from a virus, medications, or head injury, then the sound is still not transferred to the brain and sometimes there may be a combination of all three!”, stated Mr. Burp.

“Wow! You almost have to be a mechanic to repair the ear!”, said Jon.

“I guess that’s what you would call the doctor that works on the ear. The doctor for the ear is called an otolaryngologist (Oh-toe-laren-goll-oh-jest). Commonly known as the ear-nose and throat doctor.” said Mr. Burp. “They don’t like it when you put things in the ear canal. It is hard to retrieve them when they get stuck and they can cause a lot of damage to the ear by punching holes in the tympanic membrane and breaking the bones of the middle ear. It is not easy to make those repairs. There are very few replacement parts.”

“So we should take care of our ears like we take care of our cars.”, said Lisa.

“Yes.”, said Mr. Burp. “ We need to also keep them protected from loud noises. It damages the hairs in the cochlea. You don’t want to have to use hearing aids before you are 30 years old.”

“Well, this ends today’s adventure. Get ready for the next one, gang!”, said Mr. Burp. “Goodbye!”

“Goodbye Mr. Burp!”, said the gang.”See you next time!”


The U Story

Once upon an unusual Saturday, Una Ewe awoke at her usual time and walked to her

place at the watering hole in the pasture. All of a sudden, there was a very loud

yell from You Urubu. It was so loud that Una could see You’s uvula when he yelled.

It appeared that You had unfortunately stepped on an unusual and ugly flower. You

was quite upset and unable to remove the ugly and unusual thorn that was on the stem

of the ugly flower. Una Ewe tried to help but was unable to undo the pain that was

making You unhappy and uncomfortable. So Una went to her uncle Uriah for

understanding of how she could best help You. Uncle Uriah called Uma Urial, Uday

Umhofo, Ulyana Uromastix, Ugo Upupa, Ursula Urraca, Ulrich Uakari, and Utku Uinta to

the watering hole for a meeting to decide how to help You.

Uma suggested that Una should use an umbrella to remove the thorn. Uncle Uriah told

Uma that the umbrella was too big.

Uday suggested they use an ultraviolet light on You’s foot and pump the thorn out

with a portable utility pump. Uncle Uriah told Uday that the pump would pump too


Ulyana suggested cooking some ube and feeding it to You to remove the thorn. Uncle

Uriah told Ulyana that the ube would only make You full and sleepy.

Ugo suggested You dancing a Ukrainian dance in a circle on three legs. Uncle Uriah

told Ugo that was too risky. If he fell, he would make a deep hole and they would

not be able to get him out.

Ursula said she could sew a unique uniform with umber underwear for You to wear to

remove the thorn. Uncle Uriah said he would only look good with the thorn still in

his foot.

Ulrich and Utka suggested that Una go to the university and ask for a solution to

solve You’s problem. Uncle Uriah agreed and sent Una to the university.

Una urgently arrived at the university and went upstairs to the library to look up a

universal answer to removing the thorn from You’s foot. All she found was a group of

people from Uzbekistan, Uganda, Uruguay, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, the United

Kingdom and the United States in an upper room, trying to plan a trip to Ursa Minor

and Uranus. They urgently dragged Una in the room to umpire where they should go

first. Una agreed to umpire their plot, only if they would help her solve You’s

problem. All agreed to unite to solve the problems. Una suggested that they go to

Ursa Minor first, then see Uranus on the way back home. The united countries gave

their suggestions:

Raise You’s foot up as high as possible.

Prop the foot upon a large rock.

Apply ultra utility tape over the thorn.

Pull the tape off the foot hard.

The thorn should be on the tape and have You wash his foot.

Una Ewe thanked the united countries and wished them well with their travels to Ursa

Minor and Uranus. Una Ewe urgently rushed back to the watering hole to tell Uncle

Uriah and the others the information she found. Uncle Uriah gathered all of the

others to assist You with his foot.

Ugo, Ulrich, Uday, and Uncle Uriah tied the finest thick rope around You’s foot and

a large limb of the big tree You was sitting under, and raised it up high. Uma, Una,

Ulyana, and Ursula pushed a large rock under his foot while Uncle Uriah and his team

lowered it onto the rock. Utku placed a large piece of utility tape on the thorn on

You’s foot. Everybody grabbed a piece of the utility tape and pulled H-A-R-D! The

tape was so sticky and strong, it pulled the thorn out of You’s foot.

You was so happy! He thanked everyone! He went to the watering hole and washed his

foot. Uncle Uriah told You that he was one of us and they would do it again if they

had to.

Everybody went to the watering hole and the meadow as they would usually do.

When someone else has a problem they cannot solve, they call Una Ewe.

Until next time, good bye!

The Y X Story

Yuri and Xavier were in the same class in school. Xavier was new to the school and

Yuri thought he was the class leader. He ran the students in the class and

sometimes not in the best ways. Yuri and his followers were not quick to make

friends.They were very rude and unfriendly with Xavier.

It reached the point where they called a meeting after school at the playground.

Why the X? You are so different. Yuri asked Xavier.

X sounds like ks in most cases, when it is riding on the end.

X sounds like z if it is leading or riding in the word.

Why X?

X is used in science and medicine to name or describe such as xiphoid and xylem.

Those words are very old and are either Greek or Latin.

X holds a place in mathematics.

X can be used to name chemicals like xylols and xylate.

X words can name riches such as xeriff or boats like xebecs.

X can make music like xylophone, xalam, xun and xaphoon.

X is used to name places in China like Xizang and Xian.

X names people like Xeros, Xenon, Xenia, Xia

X can be used to name many things!

Y does not say y in any words either, not at the beginning, middle or end, so what’s

so wrong with X?

Y is from Greece and the Romans used it too. It is a consonant and a vowel,

depending on how it is used.

Why Y? You are different, too. Xavier asked Yuri.

Y is for yellow, the color of the sun.

Y is for yummy yumberries, yogurt, yams, yokes, yakitori, and yautia to name a few.

Y is for yak, yapok, and Yellowjacket to add some sting!

Y is for years, yearlings, youth and young.

Y is for yield, yawn and taking a nap in the yard.

Y is for YELL or yodel,when you find yourself in trouble!

Y is yacht if you like rich sailing.

Y is for Yucca, yucky and yurt, a place to live in.

Y is a scientific element, Yttrium and Ytterbium.

Y is for yoga that can be practiced all day.

Y can make music with the yay li tanbur, yazh, and yunluo.

Y is for Yuma, Yonkers, York, Yemen, and Yongzhou.

Y is also a placeholder in mathematics too!

Y is just as important as X, now you see!

Now we see the uses of X and Y even though they are different as different can be!

We see why both are important and have been used a lot!

We have to work together, so let’s give this our best shot!

We will start tomorrow yawned Xavier and Yuri.

We will join together and solve some problems and see.

We will see each other tomorrow when we are free!