How to Make a Model of the Human Digestive System

Learning how to make a model of the human digestive system isn't easy. Kids will need to invest some time to complete a digestive system model, because there are several organs to create. Having several kids work on the project, each one building a different organ, can make the process faster.

Building a Human Digestive System Model

Materials

  • Modeling clay  in six or seven colors
  • 4 jellybeans in different colors

Esophagus and Salivary Glands
Take a piece of clay the size of a gumball and roll it between your hands to make a snake. Flatten the snake to create the esophagus. Using the same color of clay, make two smaller snakes. Place one at a 90 degree angle to the top of the esophagus to create the nasal passage. Place the other at a 45 degree angle to the esophagus, then bend the tip so it's parallel with the nasal passage. This is the oral cavity.

For salivary glands, use three jellybeans. Put one to the left of the junction between the esophagus and the nasal and oral cavities. Put the other jellybeans beneath the oral cavity.

Stomach and Pancreas
Use a piece of clay about the size of a golf ball that's a different color from the clay used in the esophagus. Work the ball until it is pear shaped, bend the top of the pear to the right and flatten the entire piece. Connect the larger end to the esophagus so that the smaller end curves to the left.

Use a different color of clay and make a ball slightly smaller than the one used for the stomach. Work the clay until it resembles a small banana, then flatten it. Fit the pancreas underneath the stomach and curve it to the bottom of the stomach.

Liver and Gallbladder
Roll a piece of clay into a ball that's twice the size of the stomach. Flatten the ball into a square with rounded corners, then slice it diagonally from the top right corner to the bottom left corner. Place this above and to the left of the stomach to represent the liver. The right-hand edge of the liver should overlap the stomach and the esophagus.

Place a jellybean beneath the lower left-hand side of the liver so that it sticks out a little. This is the gall bladder. 

Duodenum and Small intestine
Take a piece of clay the size of a large gumball in a color that hasn't been used. Roll it into a rod, bend it into a C shape and flatten it. Connect the top of the C to the bottom of the stomach and bend it around the pancreas to make the duodenum.

Using the same color of clay, form another ball the size of a tennis ball and roll it into a long snake. Fold the entire snake like an accordion. Flatten the pleated snake lightly to make the small intestine. Connect the top of the small intestine to the bottom of the duodenum. The width of the small intestine should be just a bit smaller than the combined width of the pancreas, stomach and duodenum.

Large Intestine and Appendix
Take a piece of clay in a color that hasn't been used yet. Form it into a long rod. Starting to the left of the small intestine, lay the rod down along the side of the small intestine. When you reach the top, fold the rod to the right, then fold it again so that it follows the right side of the small intestine. Fold the rod once more beneath the small intestine, so that it ends roughly at the center of the small intestine's bottom.

Form a small piece of clay in a different color into a rod about an inch long. Attach this to the bottom of the left-hand side of the large intestine to create the appendix.

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