Muscle Movement!

Prior Knowledge: Students should have a basic understanding of the structure and function of the skeletal system. Students should be able to recognize the location of muscles on the human body.

Lesson Objective: By the end of today’s class, SWBAT describe the basic function of muscles.

Basic Description of Assignment: This lesson is designed to get the student to start thinking about the interconnectedness of all of the body systems. The student will be examining how muscles work to cause movement.  This short lab will enable students to get a hands-on experience exploring the muscular system. Through the discovery of the function of the muscular system, the students will discover how muscles and bones interact and therefore conclude the relationship between the muscular and skeletal system.


– raw chicken wings (1 per person) with the skin removed


Step 1: Explain to the student that the pink tissue surrounding the bone is called muscle.

Step 2: Have student write down at least 5 observations about the muscle tissue on the chicken

Step 3: Stretch and bend the chicken wing while focusing on one muscle bundle.

– student must make at least 2 observations

Step 4: Bend and stretch the chicken wing while focusing on the movement of the opposing muscle bundle.

– student must note at least 2 observations

-student compares observations to previous observations

Step 5: Bend and stretch the chicken bone while focusing on the movement of the bone.

– student makes 2 observations

-student compares movement of the two muscle bundles and bone

Step 6: Ask student these questions:

– what is the role of the skeletal system?

-what did you notice about the bones as we moved the chicken wing?

-what caused the bones to move?

-what did the muscles do to cause the bone to move?

Step 6: have students model movement by flexing biceps while holding opposing muscles

Step 7: Ask students: What is the connection between muscles and bones?

Reasoning behind Lesson:

This lesson is designed for the students to have a hands-on lab experience at home. Using chicken wings, a food that most students are familiar with, the students are able to use this model to illustrate how muscles and bones work together to cause movement. Students typically do not get to see the whole picture and how one concept connects with another. This lab allows students to slowly develop logic and reasoning skills to better understanding how life science is all interconnected. Using the guiding questions and probing students to make observations enables students to slowly come to a conclusion about the relationship between the skeletal and muscular system.

As the students starts to see how they are interconnected, students will continue to develop these skills that will enable them to make bigger connections later in the course. Not only will the students be able to draw these big connections, but they will also be able to begin understanding the use of models to better understand the human body.


This lesson is particularly useful for students who are tactile. Students love feeling like they are in a lab setting. This hands-on experience is a great learning tool for students who need to feel and see the changes in the muscle length as the chicken wing changes movement. Students who are struggling with this concept can also be given scaffolding questions such as  “how many muscles are connected to this bone?” Identification questions may be easier for students struggling with the concept. After, you may ask the student to describe the shape and movement of the muscles as it moves. Then, the student can describe what caused the movement.

For extension, students can model movement of the chicken wing to the movement in the arm. Afterwards, the students can be probed with questions such as, “why do we use the chicken wing to represent muscles in the arm? Are they the same thing?” The student can also be asked the relationship of skeletal and muscular systems. For further extension the student can apply concepts that they have learned by explaining why we get backaches more often than ab aches? Any additional application questions would be useful to push student learning.

YouTube also has some great videos on muscle movements.


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