How to make a model heart with materials from your home

Written by donna earnest-pravel
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A really enjoyable, educational science project to do with elementary or middle school aged students is to make a model of the human heart. This can be done inexpensively with materials commonly found at home. Simply make a homemade play dough recipe and add other household items to make a realistic replica of a human heart.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Homemade play dough recipe:
  • 7 slices of white bread
  • 7 tsp white school glue
  • 1/2 tsp dish washing liquid
  • 1/2 tsp water
  • Mixing bowl
  • Internet or library books
  • Plastic drinking straws
  • Scissors
  • Paint (red, blue and purple are suggested)
  • Felt-tipped markers
  • Printer
  • Computer paper
  • Straight pins or push pins
  • Cardboard

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    Make the Play Dough

  1. 1

    Cut bread crusts off seven slices of white bread. Break bread into small pieces. Place in a mixing bowl.

  2. 2

    Add seven tsp of white school glue. Mix well.

  3. 3

    Add one-half tsp dish washing liquid and one-half tsp water. Mix until the paste has a smooth, claylike consistency. Add a few drops of water if necessary.

  4. 4

    Form the model. Allow 24 hours to dry.

    Form the Model

  1. 1

    Get several photo images of a human heart from the Internet or a library book to use as a reference.

  2. 2

    Shape the dough to form the left and right atria and the left and right ventricles of the heart.

  3. 3

    Use scissors to cut the plastic drinking straws into lengths to represent the aorta and the pulmonary artery.

  4. 4

    Insert a straw for the aorta into the right atrium.

  5. 5

    Insert another straw for the pulmonary artery into the left ventricle.

    Paint the Model

  1. 1

    Paint the heart purple after the play dough has dried.

  2. 2

    Paint or use felt-tipped markers to draw arteries and veins. Paint or draw arteries blue and veins red.

  3. 3

    Paint or colour the straws representing the aorta and pulmonary artery.

    Label and Mount Model

  1. 1

    Write out the words "Right Atrium," "Left Atrium," "Right Ventricle," "Left Ventricle," "Aorta," and "Pulmonary Artery" in a Word document and print out.

  2. 2

    Cut the words out to use as labels for the model.

  3. 3

    Pin the labels to the model using straight pins or push pins.

  4. 4

    Mount the model on a sheet of cardboard. Secure with white school glue. Allow at least 24 hours to dry.

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