LESSON:  THE IMPORTANT FUNCTIONS OF THE MOUTH
 

Purpose:
To develop an understanding of the three important functions of the mouth.
 

Materials needed
Old magazines
Construction paper (optional)
Activity page, "Functions of the Mouth"
Parent Letter, "The Important Functions of the Mouth"
 

Background Information for the Teacher:
Head Start recognizes that a healthy mouth affects a child's language development, social development, self-esteem, and learning.

Children need to understand that taking care of their mouth is important because they need to use their mouth and teeth in many ways.

Eating. With a healthy mouth and teeth, we can eat a wide variety of foods that are good for us. Healthy, strong teeth help us chew our foods well, which aids in digestion.

Speaking. The teeth and the other parts of our mouth are used to make the proper sounds for many letters of the alphabet. They help us speak clearly.

Appearance. The mouth is used when we smile or use other expressions. The teeth help give shape and form to our face. With a healthy mouth, we look good to ourselves and to others.
 

Starting the Lesson:
I. Begin this lesson by singing the song "Smiles We See" with the children. (See Lesson, "Awareness of the Mouth.")

II. Show the children Activity Page, "Functions of the Mouth," or find magazine pictures that show the various functions of the teeth, including someone eating, someone talking, and someone smiling.

A. Referring to just the picture showing a person smiling, ask the children the following questions:

"What is this person doing with his/her mouth?"

"Could you smile if you did not have a mouth?"

"What would your smile look like without teeth?"

"How would you feel if you couldn't smile?"

"How do you feel when you are smiling?"

"What do your teeth do for your smile?"

B. Next refer to the picture that shows someone talking. Ask the children the following questions:

"What is this person doing with his/her mouth?"

"What do you see move when people talk?" (Elicit responses that the lips, teeth, and tongue move when people talk.)

"Try to talk without moving your mouth." (Have students hold their lips together to see if they can talk.)

"Could you talk without a mouth?"

"What would happen if you could not talk?"

"How would you feel if you could not talk?"

"How would this person feel if he/she could not talk?"

words.

Instruct all children to say the word "Tooth" and to notice the movement of their classmates' lips, teeth, and tongue as they are all saying the word "Tooth." (Note: It is typical for children at this age to pronounce the "th" sound as an "f.") Have children practice saying various words, such as their own name, or words that begin with "D" as in dentist, "L" as in light, and "S" as in sun. If mirrors are available, instruct students to watch their lips, teeth, and tongue move as they say various words.

C. Show the third picture that illustrates a person eating. Ask the children the following questions:

"What is this person doing with his/her mouth?"

"What moves when you eat food?"

"What part of your mouth do you use when you are eating foods?"

"Could you eat without a mouth?"

"What would happen if you couldn't eat?"

"How would you feel if you couldn't eat?"

"How would the person in the picture feel if he/she couldn't eat?"

"Could you chew food if you didn't have any teeth?"

"What would happen if you couldn't chew big bites of food?"

"How would you feel if you couldn't chew big bites of food?"
 

Classroom Activities:
1. Music Activity - Teach children, the following song, "Smile, Talk, Chew," sung to the tune of "Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush." After the children have learned the song, have them perform a movement or an expression for each verse to imitate "smiling," "talking," and "chewing." Children may also be taught to clap their hands as a rhythm activity during this song.

"Smile, Talk, Chew"

Verse one:

This is the way we use our mouth

Use our mouth

Use our mouth

This is the way we use our mouth

Smile, Smile, Smile

Verse two:

This is the way we use our mouth

Use our mouth

Use our mouth

This is the way we use our mouth

Talk, Talk, Talk

Verse three:

This is the way we use our mouth

Use our mouth

Use our mouth

This is the way we use our mouth

Chew, Chew, Chew

Verse four:

These are the ways we use our mouth

Use our mouth

Use our mouth

These are the ways we use our mouth

Smile, Talk, Chew

2. Game "Catch a Smile" - Instructions: Have children sit in a circle. The child who is "IT" smiles a big smile (everyone else must be serious). "IT" looks at a certain child, wipes smile off with his/her hand, and throws smile to another child. The child receiving the tossed smile then becomes "IT." The new "IT" repeats this activity. If anyone smiles at "IT" or at the one receiving the smile, he or she is out. The children who are out form a circle outside the ones who are still in the game.

3. Art Activity for Bulletin Board - Give children old magazines. Have them find pictures of people who are eating, talking, or smiling. Allow children to cut or tear the pictures out and glue them to pieces of construction paper. Various colors and shapes of construction paper may be used to reinforce colors and shapes. Use these pictures for a bulletin board.

Have children create a title or name for the bulletin board.

Children may also use magazine pictures of people eating, talking, or smiling to make a collage on pieces of construction paper.

4. Chewing Activity - Have children wash their hands. Give each child a portion of a carrot and allow him/her to eat it. (You may wish to conduct this activity around snack or meal time using food you have available. If you do not use carrots, select a food that requires biting and chewing.) Have the students point to the teeth they used to bite the carrot. Then have them point to the teeth used to chew the carrot. Reinforce the idea that teeth are used to bite and chew.

Now ask the children the following questions:

"Who has seen a little baby?"

"What foods does a newborn baby eat?" (Encourage responses such as milk, soft foods, strained foods or baby food.)

"Can a little baby eat a carrot?" "Why can't a baby eat a carrot?"

"What do you have in your mouth that babies don't have in their mouth?"

"Can you eat a carrot?"

Lesson Review,
Puppet Story:

 

Hello, everybody! It's great to see all of your smiling faces once again. Today you learned about some of the important things you do with your mouth, like smiling. If you didn't have a mouth, you couldn't smile. Let's see all of you smile. Oh, that's real nice! Seeing your smiles makes me feel like smiling.

We do something else with our mouth and teeth when we eat. Can anyone tell me what it is? (bite and chew food) That's right! With a healthy mouth and strong teeth we can bite and chew all kinds of good foods. If we didn't have teeth, we couldn't chew our food and we would have to eat only soft food, like baby food, all the time. What food could you not eat if you didn't have teeth?

There's something else we all do with our mouth. I'm doing it right now. Can anyone guess what it is? That's right! We use our mouth and teeth to speak clearly. If you didn't have a mouth, it would be hard to say the ABC's. I wouldn't be able to understand you when you talk to me. Try to say "Hi, Smiley" without moving your mouth. Oh, my. I couldn't even understand you. Now move your mouth and say "Hi, Smiley" very clearly. Oh, much better! Well, now we must remember to keep our mouth and teeth 'healthy so we can smile nicely, chew our food, and speak clearly. See you next time! Bye!
 
 

  Parent Letter:  "Functions of the Mouth"

Dear Head Start Parent:
 

Today your child learned about the many ways people use their mouth. The mouth is used to chew, to speak, and to smile. Your child's baby teeth are very important. They save space for the permanent teeth to grow in straight and healthy. They also help your child learn to speak clearly.

To help your child remember the important uses of the mouth, you and your child might go through old newspapers or magazines and cut out pictures of people who are using their mouth. Have your child describe the ways the mouth is being used in the pictures you find.

Head Start is concerned with helping your child have a good self-image, and we know you want that also. A good self-image helps children to succeed. Happy smiles with healthy teeth are important in creating that good self-image.

Sincerely,
 


 


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