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ETD 63: A. Why don't ducks feet freeze off in winter? B. What are 4 functions of the digestive system + give examples?
March 28, 2013 at 8:58am


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Adilah M
May 12, 2013 at 7:37pm

Adilah taught be about how ducks are able to keep their feet warm in the winter. She told me about how they are able to constrict and dilate blood vessels depending on the temperature. I found this very interesting. She also told me about the functions of the digestive system. ------------------------------------------- I told my mom about the functions of the digestive system and duck's feet. She found both interesting. I was able to develop a better understanding of regulation in animals by discussing this with her. I also know am better able to remember the functions of the digestive systems and state specific examples if necessary.

Wendy Lundquist
June 09, 2013 at 8:52pm

It was interesting to hear that the ducks feet have such interesting adaptations. They rely on the counter-current heat exchange and have fewer cold sensitive cells in their feet. Brenan also mentioned that they are able to dilate and constrict their blood vessels, thereby changing the blood flow rate. This sounds like what happens in our extremities when it is cold outside. ----------------------------------- I talked to my mom about thermoregulation and how exactly it is performed by ducks in the winter. This helped to remind me of the processes and to learn the processes better. When I talked to her about the digestive system and of organic molecules and nutrients in the blood, she related the colligative property of freezing point depression as another potential factor that allows ducks to keep their feet from freezing.

Calista Moore
May 01, 2016 at 3:33pm

Student: I explained to my dad countercurrent exchange which enables the duck, a thermoregulator, to save heat energy by having arteries and veins run adjacent to each other. I also explained each function of the digestive system and emphasized why each function was important as well as the difference between vitamins and minerals.

Parent: I never knew what the difference between vitamins and minerals were but after hearing about them, I understand why over ingesting minerals can lead to toxic buildups in the system while vitamins are able to be passed through easier. 

Ethan Bailey
April 01, 2018 at 9:34pm

Parent -- Ethan provided a fascinating lecture on something I've never thought about: why ducks' feet don't freeze.  I learned that there are two basic reasons.  First, ducks have a counter current blood flow that enables them to send warm blood down the arteries and cooled blood back up through the veins.  As part of this process, ducks also control their vascular pressure, which helps keep things warmer down there.  Second, ducks have specialized connective tissues on their feet that are naturally cold resistant.  Very cool.  Ethan fielded my questions well, had a great attention step (scaring ducks on ice to see of they got stuck/broke off), and used hand drawn visual aids for the presentation.   

Ethan also taught me the four essential functions of the digestive system, something that I am sure I did not learn in high school as it was essentially new to me.  The functions are 1) mechanical break down of food (well, I knew this one); 2) converting food into energy by breaking bonds; 3) extracting vitamins and minerals from the stuff we eat; and 4) producing something that our organs need (his presentation was yesterday, and I forget what he called that... ).  He also mentioned some of the water absorption properties on the back-end of the system.  

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