From the time food passes the lips until what's left reaches the rectum, the digestive system works to process nutrients and separate waste. The digestive system forms a tube that carries the food and mixes in juices to break it all down. Using clay and jelly beans, you can create a colourful model for science class that shows the path from the mouth through the oesophagus to the stomach, the duodenum, the small intestine and the large intestine, passing the nasal passage, the pancreas, the liver, the gallbladder and the appendix along the way.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- Clay of seven colours (red, orange, blue, brown, white, green and pink)
- Jelly beans
- High-strength glue
- Poster board
Roll a piece of red clay the size of a gumball into a snake shape and flatten it; this is the oesophagus, the tube running from the back of the mouth to the stomach. Make two smaller red-clay snakes by the same process. Place one of the smaller snakes at a right angle to the top of the large snake; this is the nasal passage. Start the second small snake at the point where the first two snakes meet and run it at an angle halfway between them, but bend the tip so it is parallel to the nasal passage. This snake is the mouth or oral cavity. Place a jelly bean to the left of the junction of the three snakes, and place two other jelly beans beneath the oral cavity. The jelly beans are the salivary glands. Glue this structure onto your poster board.
Make a pear out of a golf-ball-size piece of orange clay. Bend the top of it to the right, then flatten the pear. Glue the larger end of the pear to the oesophagus on your poster board, allowing the smaller end to curve to the left. This is the stomach.
Make a blue clay ball smaller than the orange clay golf ball that became the stomach. Roll the ball into a banana shape. Flatten the banana and fit it so that it curves along the bottom of the stomach. This is the pancreas. Glue it into place on the poster board.
Take a piece of brown clay that is double the size of the stomach. Form the brown clay into a flat square with curved corners, and cut it diagonally in half from top right corner to bottom left corner. Place the left slice at the top left of the stomach so that it slightly overlaps the stomach and oesophagus. This is the liver. Put a jelly bean at the bottom left corner of the liver to serve as the gallbladder. Glue the liver and gallbladder into place.
Create a large gumball out of white clay. Roll the clay into a rod shape, flatten it and curve it so that it looks like a "C." Attach the top of the C to the bottom left of the stomach and curve it around the pancreas. This is the duodenum. Glue it into place.
Make a white clay tennis ball and roll it into a long snake shape. Fold the snake like an accordion and flatten it. Connect the top of this snake to the bottom of the duodenum. This is your small intestine. Glue it into place.
Roll a large ball of green clay into a long rod. Starting at the top left of the small intestine, wrap the green clay down the side and around the small intestine until you reach the top right corner. Bend the green rod to the right and curve it back underneath itself and the small intestine, stopping at the bottom in the midway point of the small intestine. This rod is your large intestine. Roll out an inch-long rod from pink clay and place it at the bottom left corner of the large intestine. This is the appendix. Glue down these organs.
Tips and warnings
- You can use any combination of clay colours, as long as each set of organs has its own colour.
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