Make a Heart Valve

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In this activity, learners make a model of a one-way heart valve to investigate how a heart controls the direction of blood flow. Learners will use a balloon or a disposable glove fingertip to alter the flow of water of a drinking straw. This is part one of a more complete model of a heart ventricle (as described in another DIY Human Body activity included in the related link at the bottom of this page). Step-by-step instructions are included with photos along with safety recommendations. Activity guide includes a "What's going on?" explanation and connections to relevant science concepts like blood oxygenation, valve function in the circulatory system, and heart murmurs.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per student

Age Range:
Ages 8 - adult

Resource Types:
Activity, Model


Materials List (per student)

  • drinking straw
  • disposable gloves
  • various balloons
  • tape
  • scissors
  • drinking cup of water


  • Life Sciences
    • Cells
      • Cell Metabolism
    • Human Body
      • Circulation
      • Health and Nutrition
      • Medicine
      • Respiration


Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


Source Collection

  • DIY Science Apps


  • , The Regents of the University of California, 2015

Funding Source:

  • National Institutes of Health Science Education Partnership Award, 5R25OD010543-02