Making a three-dimensional model of the human ear can seem challenging because the inner ear contains so many parts. If you have an easy-to-follow ear anatomy diagram and modelling clay in various colours, however, you should be able to create an accurate and colour-coded model. Using such a model to illustrate an academic lesson, along with other curriculum materials and activities, can increase student interest, learning and retention.
Form the outer ear (pinna) of your ear model using one colour of the modelling clay. Continue using this colour to form the outer ear canal, which will connect to the parts of the inner ear.
Create the parts of the inner ear--eardrum, hammer, anvil, stirrup, semicircular canals, cochlea, nerves and estachian tube--using tools from a basic clay toolkit or a variety of kitchen utensils. Butter knifes work well for clean clay cuts.
Put the ear parts together by connecting them one by one to the outer ear canal, estachian tube and to each other, using glue, broken toothpick pieces or a combination of both. Toothpicks can be cut in little pieces and placed into the ear canal on one side. Combined with drops of glue, toothpicks can hold the ear drum or other parts securely in place.
Create an identification key on an index card by making colour spots to match the clay used on each part of the ear model and the respective name of the part of the ear.
- Enhance the ear model project or lesson on ears with experiments and activities that allow students to use other senses to learn about the parts of the ear featured in the model.
- Larger models of the ear, two to five times the actual size of an ear, are easier to build and are better at illustrating all the parts of the ear.