Practically Poop

by Gretchen White, mom of 8 and blogger extraordinaire.

I’ve always considered chocolate graham crackers to be a superior base for key lime pie. They kick up the chocolate quotient when making s’mores, too.

Thanks to my son, Tommy, I’ve learned chocolate graham crackers also make excellent poop.

His 3rd grade class was studying the excretory system.  Their science units often feature hands-on experiments that engage the imagination. In this unit, an experiment went one step further and tickled the gag reflex. The experiment called for a zip-top bag, several graham cracker squares, water, lemon juice, and scissors.

Step-by-step, he explained the process of making poop in a bag. He crushed chocolate graham crackers in a zip-top plastic bag to simulate how teeth grind food. Then he moistened the food with water, a stand-in for saliva. With his hands, he manipulated the contents into a paste. Once swallowed, the stomach’s acids go to work. Tommy explained how a little lemon juice added to the paste represented that step into the poop process. Now the real fun began.

He mimicked rolling and rolling and rolling the paste into a solid mass. His hands were small intestines, then the large intestine where the brown goo is stored until you can’t stand it any longer. What goes in must come out!

Thankfully, in actual excretory systems this step doesn’t involve scissors.

He snipped off a small corner of the bag and squeezed. It took a bit of force to get his school-made stool through the hole and into the trashcan.

“The trashcan? Why didn’t you eat it?” I asked, stuck on the chocolate element of the day’s events. With sugar, lime juice, and eggs, he would have had the makings of a great dessert, something nice to serve after a dinner of grilled prawns, perhaps.

“Mom!’ he shrieked, completely disgusted, ‘It’s practically poop!” He feigned terror, light-headedness, and ultimately death.

In that moment, the beauty of school-crafted poop was evident. His imagination had been stirred briskly enough that he
made poop.

I told him he was right. What was I thinking?

What goes in must come out.

That holds true with how kids learn. When senses are engaged and the element of play is encouraged, what comes out is beautiful, every time.

Just don’t suggest eating it.

Bio: Gretchen White lives in suburban Denver with her husband and 8 children. She chronicles the dizzy daily life of a family of 10 at Lifenut ( She has a photo blog called snap cake ( Gretchen is also a featured blogger at The Denver Post’s Mile High Mamas (

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  1. says

    Love it!! I used to do the same experiment with cherry tomatoes to show how not all the pieces break down, and thus why tomato plants sometimes sprout in unexpected places. :)

  2. says

    Love it. You and your family will never cease to amaze me. I also really appreciated reading your thoughts on school choice and applaud you for going with your gut! :)


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