How to make a lungs model for kids

Written by joan collins
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How to make a lungs model for kids
Make a model lung. (Chinese woman holding an x-ray image by Allen Penton from

Educators, from elementary school to college, understand the value of active learning in the classroom. Studies indicate that students enjoy active learning and retain more of the information presented to them in the active style (See References: The National Teaching & Learning Forum). Using active learning to make models promotes greater understanding of abstract ideas and enhances learning for students with learning disabilities. It also helps cross the gender barrier in certain areas (See References: Printable 3-D Models). Help your students benefit from interactive learning by making a model of the human lung.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • 4 inches of clear tubing with a 3/4-inch diameter
  • 3-way PVC elbow with a 3/4-inch diameter
  • Duct tape
  • 2 Round balloons
  • 2-liter plastic bottle
  • Box cutter
  • 12-inch diameter sheet of plastic

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  1. 1

    Hold one end of the 3-way PVC elbow. It should form a "Y" that is upside-down. Attach one balloon to each of the other two ends that form the "Y" legs. Use duct tape to hold the balloons firmly in place. Press the tape with your fingers all the way around each one to make sure they are airtight.

  2. 2

    Insert the clear plastic tubing into the final opening on the 3-way elbow. About 3 inches should remain outside the elbow. Tape the tubing and elbow together securely with duct tape, making them airtight.

  3. 3

    Measuring from the bottom edge of the 2-liter bottle, make a mark 1 1/2-inches from the bottom. Draw a line parallel to the bottom around the bottle with a marker. Using a box cutter, cut the bottom off of the bottle.

  4. 4

    Entering through the bottom of the bottle, insert the clear tubing, the 3-way elbow and the two balloons into the bottle. Run the clear tubing through the hole in the bottle. Pull it tight and tape the tubing firmly in place in the bottle with duct tape.

  5. 5

    Fold the 12-inch diameter sheet of plastic in half; then fold it in half again. Twist the corner and tape it in place with a small piece of duct tape to form a handle. Attach the plastic around the bottom of the bottle and hold it in place with a tight rubber band. Cut a piece of duct tape in half and reinforce the plastic by placing the tape around the top edge.

  6. 6

    Pull on the tape handle on the plastic and the balloons will inflate. Push up on the plastic with the handle and the balloons deflate. This model demonstrates how the diaphragm does the work of breathing, inflating and deflating the lungs (See References: Merck).

Tips and warnings

  • The diaphragm works with plastic from trash bags, grocery bags or balloons.

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