How to Make a Model Heart With Materials From Your Home

By Donna Earnest-Pravel

A really enjoyable, educational science project to do with elementary or middle school aged students is to make a model of the human heart. This can be done inexpensively with materials commonly found at home. Simply make a homemade play dough recipe and add other household items to make a realistic replica of a human heart.

Make the Play Dough

Cut bread crusts off seven slices of white bread. Break bread into small pieces. Place in a mixing bowl.

Add seven tsp. of white school glue. Mix well.

Add one-half tsp. dish washing liquid and one-half tsp. water. Mix until the paste has a smooth, clay-like consistency. Add a few drops of water if necessary.

Form the model. Allow 24 hours to dry.

Form the Model

Get several photo images of a human heart from the Internet or a library book to use as a reference.

Shape the dough to form the left and right atria and the left and right ventricles of the heart.

Use scissors to cut the plastic drinking straws into lengths to represent the aorta and the pulmonary artery.

Insert a straw for the aorta into the right atrium.

Insert another straw for the pulmonary artery into the left ventricle.

Paint the Model

Paint the heart purple after the play dough has dried.

Paint or use felt-tipped markers to draw arteries and veins. Paint or draw arteries blue and veins red.

Paint or color the straws representing the aorta and pulmonary artery.

Label and Mount Model

Write out the words "Right Atrium," "Left Atrium," "Right Ventricle," "Left Ventricle," "Aorta," and "Pulmonary Artery" in a Word document and print out.

Cut the words out to use as labels for the model.

Pin the labels to the model using straight pins or push pins.

Mount the model on a sheet of cardboard. Secure with white school glue. Allow at least 24 hours to dry.