Materials to use for a science project on body systems

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Materials to use for a science project on body systems
The body is a complex organism made of up many systems and components. (Dynamic Graphics/Dynamic Graphics Group/Getty Images)

The human body is made up of dozens of organs, and hundreds of different bones and muscles. How these components, combined with veins and nerves, work together can be a fascinating and informative science project. Make a three-dimensional model of the system that you are focusing your science project with ingredients that can be purchased at a craft or pet store.

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Bones

Use styrofoam tubes and balls to create realistic bones. Carve the styrofoam tubes, which will be the main portion of the bone, and the styrofoam balls, which will be the joint sockets, to the appropriate shape. Glue the sockets and bones together, sand away any sharp edges and paint the bones with white acrylic paint. Use different shapes and sizes of styrofoam to create a model of all, or part, of the skeletal system.

Muscles

Create muscles out of craft clay, shaping the muscles around the bones by hand and with a toothpick to add small details. If your model of the muscular system is meant to move, create muscles out of paper mache. Attach the paper mache to the bone, adding tissue paper or balls of newspaper to fill out the three-dimensional shape. Use a pencil or small knife to poke holes for the strings to attach the muscles together for a moving model. Paint the muscles the desired colour and add tendons of a lighter shade.

Organs

Use craft clay, styrofoam balls, plaster or paper mache to craft major organs, such as the heart, lungs, liver, and stomach. The medium you choose will depend on the shape of the organ and your personal preferences. Latex paint, sprayed or painted over the finished organ, will add texture and prevent the model from being damaged by fake blood or other science project liquids. For intestines, try filling a pair of pantyhose with cotton balls or tissue paper, cutting them to size and dyeing them an appropriate colour.

Nerves and Veins

Paint nerves or veins onto organs and muscles in their appropriate places. You can also use string for a more three-dimensional effect. If you are creating a more detailed model of the nervous or cardiovascular systems, use thin tubing filled with your liquid of choice. You can purchase tubing at any aquarium or pet store. Use a thin liquid if you intend to use a pump with the vein tubing.

Fluids

Mix corn syrup, cornflour and food colouring to make simple fake blood. Fake blood can also be made by mixing clear dish soap with food colouring. A dash of instant coffee can be added to either method if the red colour is too bright. Membranes and mucus can be created with clear, unflavored gelatin or activity gel, available at most craft stores. Gelatin or activity gel can be coloured with food colouring.

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