Build a lung, anyone?

What keeps the blood in your body moving in one direction? How do your lungs pull air in and push air out? Why does your nose make sticky snot while your intestines make smelly gas?

Chris Keller of the Lawrence Hall of Science explains how to use the DIY Human Body app for easy, safe, fun explorations of how body parts and systems work. (Video by Roxanne Makasdjian and Nancy Yan)

These questions and more are answered by a new, free DIY Human Body app for iPhones and iPads, which helps kids discover how their bodies really work. The app guides kids through 13 fun, hands-on activities using everyday items to explore their bodies’ complex machinery.

According to curriculum and app developer Chris Keller of UC Berkeley’s Lawrence Hall of Science, the DIY Human Body app guides kids, alone or with parents or teachers, through activities to engineer models of human organs, test the contents of artificial “blood” or carry out experiments on what makes bones both rigid and flexible.

They can even get “gross” to learn about the fluids and chemicals their bodies produce that keep them healthy.

The app includes activity step-by-step instructions, and videos that explain how the body works.

“Some of these videos also offer insights into staying healthy and various health issues that kids face today,” Keller says.

DIY Human Body, released early this year, was developed by LHS thanks to funding though a Science Education Partnership Award from the National Institutes of Health. The NIH also funded development of the new, free Monster Heart Medic game, a companion app to DIY Human Body, that was released this week. Monster Heart Medic uses animated monster stories, interactive simulators, arcade games, virtual diagnostic tests and more to explore the cardiovascular system and how it’s affected by healthy living.

Click here to download the app from Apple iTunes. Other science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) activity apps from the Lawrence Hall of Science include DIY Nano and DIY Sun Science. Find out more about these DIY apps on the Lawrence Hall of Science website.