The human heart pumps blood throughout the body through arteries, capillaries and veins. The heart is separated into four chambers: the right chambers pump oxygenated blood from the lungs to the rest of the body, and the left chambers carry deoxygenated blood to the lungs. You can illustrate the heart’s functions by using pop bottles to create a model of the human heart. Use the bottles to represent the chambers, colored water to represent oxygenated or deoxygenated blood, vinyl tubing to represent veins and arteries, and bulldog clips to represent valves.
1. Preparing the Pop Bottles
Remove the caps from the pop bottles. Pour out any remaining liquid, then clean and dry the bottles. Using a hammer and nail, punch holes in all four bottle lids. Make the holes large enough for a piece of the short plastic tubing to fit through.
2. Connecting the Pop Bottles
Connect two bottle caps together with a piece of four-inch vinyl tubing so that the cap tops face each other and there is one inch of tubing between them. Repeat this process with the other pair of caps. Seal the holes in the caps with modeling clay.
3. Attaching and Sealing the Tubing
Using your scissors, cut holes in the bottoms of two of the bottles. Make the holes large enough for the funnels to fit through. Cut similar holes two inches from the top of the other two bottles.
Thread a piece of 11/2-foot tubing through a hole in the side of one bottle. Push the tube inside the bottle so that it almost touches the bottom. Repeat this process with the other bottle that has a hole in its side, and seal these holes with modeling clay.
Attach the caps on all four bottles so that the tubing in the caps connects the bottles with holes in their bottoms to the bottles with holes in their sides.
Using electrical tape, tape the bottles with holes in the bottom together, and tape the bottles with holes in the sides to each other.
4. Adding Red and Blue Colored Water
Add red food coloring to enough water to fill up one of each pair of bottles. Repeat this process with blue food coloring in the other bottle pair. The red water symbolizes deoxygenated blood, while the blue water symbolizes oxygenated blood.
5. Attaching the Valves
Clip the bulldog clips on the tubing between the bottle caps. The clips symbolize valves, which let blood flow through veins in only one direction.
Tape the free ends of your long plastic tubing to the sides of the bottles with masking tape. This will prevent the water from squirting out and making a mess.
6. Finishing the Model
Stick your funnels into the holes in the bottoms of your bottles. Pour the red water into one bottle of a bottle pair, and the blue water into one bottle of the other pair.
Remove the bulldog clips to let water flow down through the tubes. Replace the clips when the water has traveled from one bottle to the other in each pair.
Squeeze the bottles that contain the longer tubing. The water will shoot through the tubes, representing blood traveling through arteries to carry oxygenated blood to the body or deoxygenated blood to the lungs.
Things You'll Need
- 4 small plastic pop bottles with caps
- Electrical tape
- 2 large bulldog clips
- 2 plastic funnels
- 2 pieces of clear vinyl tubing, 1-1/2 foot long each
- 2 pieces of vinyl tubing, 4 inch
- Red and blue food coloring
- Masking tape
- Modeling clay
- Hammer and nail
About the Author
Christina Sloane has been writing since 1992. Her work has appeared in several national literary magazines.