Prior Knowledge: Students should have a basic understanding of the location of major body organs. Students should know that the body is made up of different body systems. Each of the different body systems have a very specific struction and function. Together, these body systems function to enable humans to perform daily activities.

Lesson Objective: By the end of today’s class, SWBAT describe the basic structure and role of the skeletal system.

Basic Description of Assignment: This introductory lesson to the human body will get the student to start thinking about how the body is structured. In this lesson, students will be exploring the skeletal system and considering what the basic functions are.




– thoroughly cleaned chicken bones (can be from a recent meal, or you can purchase faux bones from a pet store)

– sidewalk chalk


Step 1: Have your student lay on the ground and trace his/her body using sidewalk chalk.

Step 2: Ask the student to illustrate what goes inside the body, using the sidewalk chalk. (direct the student to illustrate the heart, brain, bones)


Step 3:  Give the student the chicken bones and ask to examine it using these guiding questions:

– What is that? bone

– Do we have them? yes

– Where are they in our bodies?

– What do they do?

Step 4: Ask the student to illustrate (on the body drawn before) where they think all of the bones exist

Step 5: Have the student point to where the bones are in the body.

– Ask student where they think the most important bones are and why? (ADVANCED)

Step 6: Have students feel the rib bones. Ask what is inside.

Step 7: Have the student feel the skull. Ask what is inside.

Step 8: Ask student what they think the bones are doing.

Step 9: Ask student to stand up and ask why they can stand up.

Step 10: Ask student to demonstrate what would happen if all of the bones were removed.

– could you still jump? run? dance? move? why or why not?

Reasoning behind Lesson: This lesson is designed to get students to start thinking thinking about the basic functions and stucture of the skeletal system. Often, students are not pushed to inquire and make sense of phenomenon that they are already familiar with. The goal of the lesson is very student driven and takes learning outside of the classroom in a place that may be more familiar to the student. This lesson is designed to get students to identify something that they are already familiar with such as chicken bones from a meal and bones within their own bodies, but rarely do students think about the overall purpose of these structures. This activity is less teacher/parent teaching and allows for more exploration of the concept. Through exploration and building off of prior knowledge, students are more likely to make sense of the concepts that they learn and therefore more likely to remember these concepts. In addition, this lesson will help to develop scientific inquiry skills of the student. By constantly asking the student to explain their reasoning will develop their reasoning and inquiry skills.


This activity is useful for students who are very tactile and draws on prior knowledge such as identification of bones and location. For students who struggle with this concept, using analogies will help students to better understand the concept. For example, when discussing the role of bones as a protection, you can use the image of a bird cage protecting the bird inside from a cat to compare to the ribcage protecting the heart or the skull protecting the brain. You can also have the student consider building a tent. What would happen to the tent if you were to remove the sticks that held it up? Using metaphors and other concepts that the student is already familiar with with help the student to achieve mastery of understanding the concepts. You can also extend this for the struggling student by asking for them to come up with their own analogies.

For students who are catching onto the concepts very quickly, they can be pushed to more challenging applications. For example, students can be challenged by asking them to predict what would happen if the skeletal system was removed from the body? For application purposes, you can YouTube or watch a scene in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets when Harry breaks his arm during a game of Quidditch (a blend of basketball and football…on flying broomsticks!). His professor, who is not very skilled at human biology, decides to “fix” his arm by removing the bones. The student can then explain why this is not a good solution. The student should be able to identify the body system affected and the functions of the body system. To push for further thinking, the student can be asked how removing the bones would change the way the body functions.


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