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Brain Mold - Gelatin

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Useful in anatomy, biology, and injury prevention classes.


Great for students of any age! The Brain Mold is useful in anatomy, biology, and injury prevention classes -- even just for fun on Halloween! It can be made to have the same color, size, mass, and consistency of a human brain. For a super-realistic look, paint inside the ridges with red food coloring. Instructions included. (Gelatin not included.) 7.5" x 9" x 4".

REINFORCE THE IMPORTANCE OF HELMETS. Place the gelatin brain mold in a bike helmet and let it drop to the floor. Do it again without the helmet. This is your brain with a helmet and this is your brain without one! Any questions?

Lesson Ideas

Download the pdf of this lesson!


  1. To identify the purpose of the brain.
  2. To demonstrate what the brain is like using a brain gelatin mold.


  1. Diagram of the brain showing each section and what each section controls.
  2. Brain gelatin mold and recipe.
  3. This lesson is best preceded by a lesson on The Skull and How It Protects the Brain which shows:
    1. The brain is floating in the skull.
    2. What happens to the brain in a crash?
    3. What injuries may happen to the brain in a crash?

This lesson is best followed by The Helmet and How It Protects the Brain, which shows:

  1. Why the helmet is shaped as it is,
  2. The 'sameness' of all shapes no matter what they look like (so choose the one you like), and
  3. How a helmet works.


  1. The brain controls everything we do. What are some activities the brain controls? (Movement, five senses, thinking, hunger, etc. Different parts of the brain control the things we do.)
  2. For older students: Show a diagram of the brain and its parts.
    Cerebrum- the largest part of the brain, controls the way we think, sense things, move, speak, and our memory.
    Cerebellum- helps us control our balance and our coordination.
    Brain stem- controls our breathing, heart rate, and all the cranial nerves.
    Other areas- control our temperature, our appetite and thirst, our sleep, and whether or not we feel pain.
  3. Show the brain gelatin mold. Shake it somewhat so it 'wiggles.'
    1. Students will ask, 'Can I touch/feel it?' Say, 'Yes, but after the presentation.'
    2. Discuss that this is a gelatin mold, made from watermelon gelatin and other ingredients. But it is about the size of a brain, the color of a brain and it 'wiggles' like the brain.
    3. Ask what would happen if someone poked a finger in the mold. What would happen? Could you fix it? Would a band-aid hold it together? No. If it dropped, could you put it back together? Why not?
    4. Show the Gelatin mold itself. Place a helmet over it and note how well it protects the brain.


  1. Lecture and discussion. Question and answer.
  2. Ask the students what they think the brain does.
  3. Ask them what they did to get ready for school. Write the activities on the board and discuss how the brain allowed them to do all those things.
  4. Using a model or picture of a brain show the students the parts of the brain and talk about how each part controls different activities.
  5. At the end of the lesson, allow the students to touch the 'brain' as they leave the class.

Before using the mold, wash the mold with warm soapy water. Rinse it very well, and dry thoroughly. When you are ready to make a mold, coat the inside with a non-stick surface such as PAM® cooking spray or vegetable oil. While any brand of gelatin dessert mix will work, Jell-O® brand seems to have the best selection of colors and flavors to choose from, and so the directions are based on using them.

For the Brain, you will need 3 small boxes (3 oz. each). We recommend watermelon flavor due to the color. To that you may want to add about 12 oz. of evaporated 99.5% skim milk (DO NOT use any other type – the gelatin will not harden properly!) in order to make the brain opaque and give it that grey 'brain' coloration.

Follow the directions on the package to mix the gelatin. You may wish to add food coloring during the mixing process at this point for other effects. If you are using the milk, be sure to reduce the amount of water that you add by the same amount of milk that you are putting in.

You will want to wrap the mold in a towel, and place in a large bowl, pan or baking dish so that it has a solid base to stand in without rolling around. Pour the mixture into the mold, and place the mold in the refrigerator and allow to set up overnight.

In order to remove the brain from the mold, shake the mold lightly to loosen the gelatin from the sides of the mold. Place a large plate upside down over the open end of the mold, and turn over. The brain should slide out on to the plate. If it sticks, you can try dipping the mold briefly into warm water and then try inverting it again.

The mold can also be used for ice cream or ice.
For ice cream: Prepare the mold as above. Then allow the ice cream to soften and spoon into the mold and re-freeze (overnight), then remove using the hot water method as above.

For Ice: Prepare the mold as above. Simply add the liquid of your choice to the mold (don't fill completely as most liquids expand when frozen). Place in the freezer until completely frozen (overnight), and then remove using the hot water method as above.

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6 reviews
former teacher
Review star icon Review star icon Review star icon Review star icon Review star icon Oct 31, 2015
I used this as a demonstration with the suggestions on the included sheet. The kids loved it and enjoyed "eating brain"
Amelia L Barton

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Program Cooridnator
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Life-like size. Heavy, durable plastic.
Jen T.

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If I only had a brain
Review star icon Review star icon Review star icon Review star icon Review star icon Apr 16, 2013
What a great teaching tool... a jello brain mold. We use it for safety demos for using helmets! Use Cooking spray before adding jello so the brain comes out easier.

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use of brain mold
Review star icon Review star icon Review star icon Review star icon Review star icon Jan 11, 2013
Although we have not used this specific mold, we use a similar product and find that if you wipe the mold lightly with cooking oil prior to filling it with jello that it is very easy to remove the form. Also, you can add some unflavored gelatin to the mixture to increase the stiffness of the form without effecting the flavor. In terms of lesson ideas, we fill the mold half way with jello and let it gel,then put in jelly beans in various brain regions and fill the rest of the way with jello. Be sure the second batch of jello is not too hot or it will dissolve the jelly beans. Students then do brain surgery to remove slices of brains containing the jelly bean tumors and must say what types of problems might occur if there was a tumor in that particular brain region.
Melissa Demetrikopoulos

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This is your brain on the table
Review star icon Review star icon Review star icon Review star icon Review star icon May 22, 2012
This mold is great. follow instructions and you have a real looking brain to demo for the classes when teaching nervous system. keep eye out for jello sales and buy 6 boxes of peach when they do.
Don Clark

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Brain Game
Review star icon Review star icon Review star icon Review star icon Review star icon May 16, 2012
Sometimes the gelatin gets stuck in the nooks and crevices, but overall a great product. Good for showing the kids how much their brain weighs. Then I drop one on the floor without a helmet, and I place the other in a helmet and drop it. Really gets the message across as to the protection afforded by wearing a helmet!

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