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Medical Engineering: Spider Silk Sutures In Medicine STEM Kids Activity

In this engaging activity, kids can delve into the world of medical engineering by exploring the remarkable properties of spider silk and its potential applications in healthcare. Kids will design and create their own spider silk-inspired sutures using everyday materials, emphasizing the critical role of materials engineering in medicine!


Medical Engineering: Spider Silk Sutures In Medicine STEM Kids Activity

Supplies needed:

-String or yarn (various colors and thicknesses)

-Scissors (child-safe)

-Masking tape or painter’s tape

Plastic or toy medical instruments (e.g., plastic tweezers, syringes, or forceps)

-Markers, crayons, or colored pencils





Step 1: Begin the activity by discussing the properties of spider silk and its potential applications in the field of medical engineering, such as biodegradable sutures.

Step 2: Explain that sutures are used by doctors and surgeons to close wounds after surgery or injuries, and that spider silk-inspired sutures could offer unique advantages.

Step 3: Distribute various colors and thicknesses of string or yarn to the children, explaining that these represent the spider silk-inspired sutures they’ll create.

Step 4: Using masking tape or painter’s tape, have the children attach one end of their chosen string to a central point on their table or workspace. This serves as the starting point of their suture.

Step 5: Instruct them to weave the string along a designated path, mimicking the process of suturing a wound. They can experiment with different stitching patterns and techniques.

Step 6: Encourage them to consider the properties they want their sutures to have, such as flexibility, strength, and biodegradability.

Step 7: Once the spider silk-inspired sutures are complete, provide small pieces of cloth or paper “wounds” for the children to practice suturing. They can use plastic or toy medical instruments (tweezers, syringes) as surgical tools.

Step 8: Discuss how the properties of their sutures affected their suturing experience and results.

Step 9: Gather the children for a group discussion about their spider silk sutures and what they learned about materials engineering and medical applications through this activity.

Step 10: Explore the importance of developing innovative materials for medical purposes, such as biodegradable sutures that minimize the risk of infection.

Step 11: Discuss how spider silk-inspired materials can contribute to advancements in the medical field, including wound closure, tissue engineering, and drug delivery.

Step 12: Emphasize the role of creativity and problem-solving in medical engineering.


Snap a pic and show us how it’s done! We’d love to see you try out this experiment. If you do, tag us on Facebook or Instagram!


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