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Create an organ vest to help teach anatomy

This is an excerpt from Innovative Tools for Health Education by Marilyn Grechus.

by Marilyn Grechus, PhD

Students can gain a better understanding of what the inside of the body looks like by placing the organs in the correct spots.


  • Old sweatshirt that has plenty of fleece on the inside
  • Scissors
  • Permanent markers
  • Hook-and-loop tape

Instructions for Assembling

  1. Cut neck binding and waistband from the sweatshirt. Cut sleeves from sweatshirt. Turn it inside out.
  2. Use the fabric from the sleeves to cut out the organs. (See appendix for patterns to enlarge.) Remember to cut the organs so that the fleece is on the back; that way the organs will stick to the fleece of the vest. (In photo below, the left lung—actually on the right as you face it—is cut from a sleeve.)
  3. Use permanent markers to add detail to the organs.

To Use

While studying body systems, allow one student to wear the vest while peers put the various organs where they belong. You can make several sets so that the whole class can be involved at one time.


You can also make organs from these materials:

  • Felt in different colors for different organs (brown lung in figure 18.2).
  • Thin craft foam. Attach the hook portion of hook-and-loop tape to the back (red heart in figure 18.2).
  • Foam meat trays (attach the hook portion of the hook-and-loop tape; pink stomach is shown in figure 18.2).

It is preferable for all organs to be made from the same material.

This is an excerpt from Innovative Tools for Health Education.