Valentine’s Day is about flowers, candy, and hearts! For this project, we wanted to learn a bit more about real hearts, so we built this DIY stethoscope for kids so my preschooler could listen to her own heartbeat. We turned it into a STEM investigation that covered all the bases of STEM on a preschool level. This post contains affiliate links.
What Does the Heart Do?
Your heart is the organ that pumps blood throughout your body. It’s a large muscle with an elaborate electrical system that tells the heart when to beat and how hard to beat. This controls your heart rate and your blood pressure. With each beat, blood flows through your circulatory system of veins and arteries. Your heart sits in your upper chest on the left side.
So why is it important that blood moves throughout your body? This is how oxygen is transported and carbon dioxide travels to your lungs to be exhaled. Plus it moves nutrients and energy around so you can get moving. It’s also how the body protects itself from infection.
What is a Stethoscope?
A stethoscope is a medical device that doctors, nurses, and more use to listen to your heart and other sounds inside your body. It consists of a circular shaped resonator that connects to earpieces using tubing.
Heartbeat Stethoscope STEM Challenge Supplies Needed
This project is so simple, but there is tons of room for exploring and learning! Toddlers, preschoolers, and kindergarten kids will love this fun STEM project that teaches them about heartbeats.
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We’ve also created a super helpful Heartrate Lab worksheet. To have the file emailed to you, simply fill out the form below.
FREE! DIY STETHOSCOPE
HEART RATE LAB WORKSHEET
Make Your DIY Stethoscope
Our stethoscope was so easy to make. I cut just enough tubing to reach from my heart to my ear, which is plenty long enough for kids, too!
- Cut the hose into a 2-foot-long section.
- Insert each end of the hose into a PVC pipe elbow.
- Place one elbow to your ear. Rotate the hose and the second elbow so that you can place the second elbow over your heart.
- Tape elbows into place with duct tape. Make sure that the tape completely seals any openings or it will be harder to hear your heartbeat.
How to Listen to Your Heart with a DIY Stethoscope
Go to a quiet place. Place one end on your ear and one end over your heart. Can you hear anything? Move the heart side around until you can hear your heartbeat. Where else can you hear your heartbeat with the stethoscope? Try your neck, wrists, etc.
Completing the Heartbeat Stethoscope STEM Challenge
For this challenge, I asked the kids if they thought their heartbeats would change after they ran in place for 20 seconds. First, I had them listen to their heartbeats at rest. The heartbeats were slow and faint.
Next, I had the kids run in place for 30 seconds. Of course, after the activity, their heartbeats were faster and louder! We counted how many beats per minute pre-activity and post-activity.
My preschooler was pretty surprised that her heartbeat changed!
We talked a bit about how activity raises your heart rate and helps your heart stay healthy.
After we listened to our hearts, my preschooler got a little silly and tried to listen to other things. She listened to her foot, her other ear, her breathing, and her stomach. She also tried listening to the floor and said she could hear bugs.
This little tool was so simple to make, but my kids have found endless ways to learn with it!
This activity includes everything you need for a comprehensive STEM project.
Science: We used the scientific method to answer the question of if a heart beat will change after activity.
Technology: We used a stopwatch to time our run.
Engineering: We designed and built our own stethoscope.
Math: We timed our heart rates before activity and after activity.
More Sensory STEM Learning for Kids
Check out these other fun STEM projects for kids that get them feeling, hearing, seeing and more!
More Human Body Activities for Kids
This project is a sneak peek into something really fun…
Come explore what makes our bodies work with the STEAM Explorers Human Body EBook Unit Study! Inside you’ll find projects, printables, and recipes that investigate our hearts, brains, bones, and more using the power of science, technology, engineering, art, and math.
The kids will love constructing some delicious cell models, demonstrating how our immune systems work, bending bones, listening to your heart with a homemade stethoscope, and more. You'll love the helpful standards-based learning, printables, and tools that make STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, & math) exploration easy!
FREE! DIY STETHOSCOPE
HEART RATE LAB WORKSHEET