The Heart as a Pump

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Learners will build a homemade pump using a balloon, a mason jar, and some straws. Then, using the weblinks provided, they will explore the workings of the heart by comparing the actions of their homemade pump with the actions of the heart. [Activity is publicly available through a web crawler capture on]

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan, Model


Materials List (per group of students)

  • wide mouth jar (plastic or glass)
  • balloons
  • skewer
  • flexible straws
  • scissors
  • tub or pail to collect water spills
  • sponges


  • Life Sciences
    • Human Body
      • Circulation


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • use keyboard
  • use mouse
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All rights reserved, Science Museum of Minnesota, 2000

Funding Source:

  • Medtronic Foundation