Bone Composition  

Objective: to explain that bones are hard on the outside and have a soft spongy center  
Student Information: Your bones hold you up. They give your body its shape. Bones are very strong and hard on the outside in order to support your body. On the inside, bones have a spongy layer around the marrow to make them lighter and movement.  
  • one cardboard tube per student
  • small rocks
  • kitchen sponges
  • masking tape 

  • Procedures: Students will work in pairs, filling one tube with rocks and the other with sponges, taping the ends of the tubes. Students will make comparisons of the two "bones" in terms of strength and mass.   
    Assessment: Journal Entry  
  • Which materials made the "bones" lightweight and strong? 
  • Why is it important for bones to be lightweight and strong? 
  • Which material would be best? 
  • How is this material like bone marrow?

    Major Bones of the Body  

    Objective: to identify and locate the major bones of the human body 
    Student Information: When you are born, you have about 300 bones. As you grow, some of these bones grow or fuse together. When you are an adult you will have 206 bones. 
  • reflective tape
  • black trash bags
  • dark long-sleeved shirts and dark pants for each child
  • skeleton model
  • skeleton diagram (handout)
  • skull mask for each child
  • "Dem Bones" song sheet

  • Procedures: 1. Students will review and label main bones on skeleton handout. Bones identified include skull (cranium), jaw, clavicle, sternum, rib cage, rib, spine, humerus, radius, ulna, pelvis, carpals, metacarpals, phalanges, femur, patella, fibula, tibia, tarsals, and metatarsals.  

    2. Students will stick pieces of tape to the outside of the trashbags to form spine, clavicles, sternum, ribcage, and pelvis. They will use tape on clothing to represent bones in arms and legs.  

    3. The students will learn song "Dem Bones" and use "costumes" (including skull masks) to perform song and dance.  

    Assessment: 1. Completed skeleton costume/model.  

    2. Journal Entry  
         Name three bones found in the human body and tell the location of each bone.


    Jazzy Joints  

    Objective:  to identify and name the joints that connect bones 
  • floppy rag doll
  • example of a hinge joint
  • a universal joint
  • a ball-and-socket joint 

  • Procedures: 
    Student Information:
    1.  Bring a floppy rag doll to class and explain that without bones, humans would look like this. Explain that without joints--points where two or more rigid bones are joined together by muscles and tendons--humans could not bend, swivel, curl, pivot, and point.  

    2.  Show children the joint examples. Let them handle the joints to become familiar with the range of motion of each one. Begin with the hinge joint and ask the children to describe the motion. Have the students give examples of hinge joints that they have seen on machines and around their houses. Repeat the discussion using the universal and ball-and-socket joints. 

    3.  Have students move some of the major bones in their own bodies, such as the tibia (shinbone), the patella (kneecap), the femur (thighbone), and the mandible (jawbone). While touching each bone, have them move that part of the body so they can locate the nearest joint to the part they are touching. Have the students describe how they are able to move the joint (up and down, around in a circle, side to side and up and down, and so on), and in doing so, to identify which type of joint they believe they have discovered. Except for the ankle and wrist joints (which are gliding joints, complex combinations of the ball-and-socket and hinge joints), any joints the students locate can be categorized as either a hinge joint, a universal joint, or a ball-and-socket joint.  

    Assessment: 1.  Journal Entry 
         In cooperative groups, list the joints evident in the body and label each as a hinge joint, a universal joint, or a ball-and-socket joint. 

    2.  Visual Chart  
         Create a class chart that classifies joints. 

    Source: "Jazzy Joints" (Integrated Theme Units - Scholastic, Inc., 1993)

    Living Bones  

  • to identify what happens when a bone breaks and to discuss the healing process
  • to determine proper use of safety equipment 

  • Student Information:  A bone may not look like alive, but it is made of living cells. Some of these cells are the hard outer coating of the bone. Inside, the bone cells are soft like a sponge. You can break a bone. The bone hurts and will swell near the break. The skin often bruises. A doctor will line up the broken bone so it can heal straight. It is the cells that strengthen and heal the break. 
    Materials: diagram of a bone (showing the inside of the bone), x-rays showing broken bones, safety equipment (bicycle helmet, knee pads, elbow pads, football shoulder pads, etc.) 
    Procedures: Ask if anyone in the class has ever had a broken bone. Discuss how the accidents happened, their experiences at the hospital, time in a cast, how the incident changed what they could do. Show the x-rays. Discuss which bone might be shown in the x-ray and the trauma to the bone. Show the safety equipment and discuss which bone(s) it protects. 
    Assessment: Safety Posters (In cooperative groups, have the students show children engaged in activities and wearing the proper safety equipment. Include a safety rule or comment on each poster.) Journal Entry (Creative Writing - Write the story of a person who breaks his or her leg. Tell how the accident happens and how this event changes this person's daily life.) 
    Sources: Frank Schaffer Publications, FS-3150  
    Human Body/Integrated Theme Units, Scholastic, Inc. 1993

    Skeletal System  

    Objective:  to measure various objects using non-standard units of the human body  
    Student Information: Long before there were rulers, people could measure things: 
  • A cubit is the length form the elbow to the fingertips. 
  • A span is the measure of your outspread fingers. 
  • A fathom measures your outstretched arms. 
  • A pace is a walking step.

  • Procedures: 1.  Use your own cubit to find some measures in the classroom. Work with a partner. 
  • Find something in the classroom that in the same size as your cubit. What is it? 
  • Guess how many cubits long the teacher's desk is. Now use your body to find how many cubits long it really is. 
  • Guess how many cubits wide the chalkboard is. Measure to find how may cubits wide it really is. 
  • 2.  On a piece of paper, draw a line to show the size of your span. 

    3.  How many friends standing side by side fit in your fathom? 

    4.  How many paces is it from the classroom door to your seat? 

    Assessment: Journal Entry  
  • Work with a partner. 
  • How tall are you in cubits
  • Suppose a weaver sells five fathoms of cloth for three dollars. In this class, whose fathom would you want to measure with? Why? 

  • Source: Integrated Theme Units, Scholastic, Inc., 1993

    Measuring Your Skeleton  

    Objective: to relate the topics of measurement and the skeletal system to their lives by using measuring tapes to find the lengths of different body parts 
  • measuring tapes (1 per 2 students)
  • recording sheets 

  • Procedures:  
    Student Information:
    1. Review the recording sheet with the whole group, clarifying what it means to measure your arm (include the hand or not?), leg, etc. 

    2. Review the similarities and difference between measuring with a ruler and measuring with a tape. 

    3. Demonstrate measuring a body part on a partner and answer any questions. 

    4. The students then measure each other and record the lengths on their sheets. 

    Assessment: As a whole group, ask students questions that lead them to compare the measurements of their different body parts. Encourage use of words like "long", "longer", and "longest".  

    Journal Entry 
         After all have had a chance to contribute, ask students to write three true statements that compare the lengths of either their own body parts or those of their classmates.  


    Pretzel Skeletons  

    Preparation:  Parent volunteers are helpful for this activity.  This activity should come after students are familiar with the human skeleton and the names of some of its parts. Divide students into groups (6-8 in each) 
  • ingredients for the recipe (follows) for each group
  • baking pans
  • measuring cups and spoons
  • oven
  • water source 

  • Recipe:  1 Package dry yeast, dissolved in cold water 
    4 cups flour 
    1 teaspoon sugar 
    1 teaspoon salt 

    Mix yeast mixture and 3 cups of flour. Slowly add about 1 more cup of flour until the mixture can be kneaded. Take turns kneading it on a floured counter top or table. Sculpt like clay into a skeleton. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. Makes one skeleton. 

    Student Information: 
    1. Explain to the children that they will be using their measuring skills to make pretzel dough. Review the type of measuring involved in cooking. Be sure to include the idea of leveling off measuring cups and spoons! 

    2. Remind the children of the proper way to work in a group-- they will need to divide up the work and give everyone a job. (Assign jobs if necessary.) 

    3. Read through the ingredients and directions as whole group and answer any questions. Tell the children that they will be responsible for naming at least five of the bones in their skeleton when it is completed.  

    4. Students make dough with their group (adults helping when necessary) and form the parts of the skeleton, combining parts to make the final project. While the skeletons cook, everyone cleans up! 

    Assessment: When students are finished, they point out and name at least five of the bones that they represented. 
    Review the parts together and then eat! 
    Remember to add the bones to one leg of your paper bodies!
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    This integrated instructional unit was designed by teachers of the:
    Henry County School System
    396 Tomlinson Street
    McDonough, Georgia 30253
    Telephone:  770/957-6601

     Updated 4/19/98