World Book Logo Building Blocks
Make Your Own Stethoscope

Make Your Own Stethoscope

Listen to your heart with your very own stethoscope!


Doctors use an instrument called a stethoscope to listen to a person’s heartbeat. The stethoscope picks up the sounds made by the heart and excludes other sounds. Rene Laennec, a French physician, made the first stethoscope from a hollow wooden tube in 1816.

You can make your own simple stethoscope using a few simple items. This is very similar to the first stethoscope invented in 1816.

What you’ll need:

  1. A cardboard tube from a roll of paper towels
  2. Tape
  3. A small plastic funnel


Simply use the tape to fasten the funnel to one end of the cardboard tube. Make sure the wide part of the funnel is on the outside of the tube and the narrow part is inside the cardboard tube.

Have a friend sit next to you. Place the one end of the cardboard tube gently against your friend’s chest, right in the middle. Place your ear up against the open end of the funnel on the other side and listen closely.

You should hear a sound, sort of like “lub-dub, lub-dub, lub-dub.” That is your friend’s heartbeat!