How to make a detailed human brain model out of clay

Written by dawn marcotte
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How to make a detailed human brain model out of clay
Learn about brain function with an easy-to-understand model. (Getty Creative)

The brain is the most complex organ in the human body. It controls the functions of all other parts of the body. Any injury to this important organ can cause significant changes in behaviour, personality, motor ability, memory and speech functions. Protected by the skull, the human brain is divided into lobes, cortexes and internal structures. Determine which items should be identified in the model brain because labelling all of these would create a model that is too complex.

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Things you need

  • Detailed diagram of the human brain
  • White clay, 1.5 litres (6 cups)
  • String or wire
  • 14 colours of clay, 120 ml (½ cup) each
  • Glue
  • Knife
  • Posterboard

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Review the detailed diagram of the human brain. Mold the white clay into a full brain shape with a left and right side that mirror each other. Include the occipital lobe section that hangs below the main brain. Include the spinal cord if desired.

  2. 2

    Grasp the string firmly in both hands and cut the brain model in half through the middle section where the right and left halves join. Separate the two sections. Hollow out the right side of the brain slightly and set aside. Choose a different colour of clay to represent each of the following internal structures: cerebellum, spinal cord, medulla oblongata, pons, mammillary body, pituitary gland, hypothalamus, thalamus, corpus callosum and mid brain. Follow the diagram and mould each colour of clay to represent the specific structure. Add the finished structures to the inside of the left side of the brain. Glue in place if necessary. Put the two sides together again. Remove more clay from the inside of the right side if the brain model does not close completely.

  3. 3

    Choose a different colour of clay to represent each of the following lobes: parietal, frontal, temporal and occipital. Use the same colours previously chosen to represent the pons, medulla oblongata, spinal cord and cerebellum. Roll a handful of the first colour of clay into a ball and then press into a pancake shape. Place the colour on the appropriate location on the outside of the brain as shown on the detailed diagram. Cut with a knife if necessary to create the correct shape. Apply the colour to the left and right side of the brain but do not cover the seam that separates the two sections. Glue in place as necessary. Use a pencil to create the folds on the outside of the brain by dragging the sharpened point through the clay in random swirls patterns.

  4. 4

    Create a legend to identify the parts of the brain. Write the name of each internal structure and lobe on a posterboard. Glue a small sample of the correct colour of clay next to the specific label.

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