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Short on funds for health education? Build a stethoscope

This is an excerpt from Innovative Tools for Health Education.

by Marilyn Grechus, PhD

Children love to use stethoscopes for listening to their—or others'—hearts. Although store-bought stethoscopes are not very expensive, the homemade versions can be much more appealing. And, if the materials are donated, children can take the stethoscopes home with them!


  • Small funnel (approximately 2 inches in diameter and 2 inches long)
  • T coupling (found in the plumbing department or automotive department of a hardware store)
  • Hollow rubber or plastic tubing (such as exercise tubing, surgical tubing, or plastic jump rope)

Instructions for Assembling

  1. Cut tubing into three pieces. Two pieces are approximately 12 inches (30 cm) long and one piece is 3 inches (8 cm) long.
  2. Attach the funnel to one end of the 3-inch piece of tubing.
  3. Attach the bottom end of the T coupling to the other end of the 3-inch piece of tubing.
  4. Attach the long pieces of tubing to either side of the top piece of the T coupling.
  5. Work pieces of tubing snugly onto coupling and funnel so it doesn't come apart easily.

If you wish to disassemble and keep, store in zipped plastic bags.

To Use

The long pieces of tubing go into the ears. The funnel is held against the chest to pick up the sound of the beating heart. Use it when teaching students about increased heart rate caused by exercise or activity.

If more than one student uses the same stethoscope, you can disinfect with alcohol wipes between uses.

This is an excerpt from Innovative Tools for Health Education.