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Compiled By: Editor

Activity and project ideas for teaching about the skeletal system

Pasta Skeleton
Posted by: Joy

The pasta skeleton that I made with my class was easily constructed with a few different types of pasta and dried beans glued to a piece of black construction paper.

Remember to arrange the skeleton on the paper before you glue!!!

Wagon wheel - head
spaghetti- fingers and toes
tiny tubes like ditalini or lentils for the backbone
long tubes (ziti) collarbone
Long spirals for arms and legs
small shells or white beans for the kneecaps, wrists and ankles.
Lima beans for the hips

Have fun! I hope this helps!

Skeleton Mobil--more difficult
Posted by: sj

This mobile requires some serious cutting--sometimes best done ahead of time by the teacher. Take an 81/2 by 11 typeing paper and fold it hotdog style two times until it is about two inches wide. Make alternating cuts from the folded sides about 1/16" apart. Cut to within about 1/16" from the other side. The effect in the beginning is to fringe one side and then turn the piece around and fringe in between the cuts you originally made. You will need to cut two sheets of paper in this way. Next, unfold both of the papers. One paper becomes the body (with slashes going horizontal) and the other paper is cut on the folds to become arms, legs. Teacher must provide a pattern (either tag templates or copies on construction paper or other sturdy paper) of a head with neck and shoulders 8" wide, bony hands, and bony feet. Glue the slit body to the shoulders, arms & legs to the body, and then attach hands and feet. Punch hold in top of skeleton head and hang as a mobile. These hang out longer and longer the more days they are up. The trick of a really pretty one is in cutting the oposing slits on that original paper evenly and thinly and as close to the other edge as possible. When I taught K, I cut all the "accordian paper", but I let my 4th graders do it themselves. I hope my instructions are clearer than mud.

dinosaur fossils
Posted by: sukie

My first graders made "fake fossils" and were excited with their results. Save all the bones from a chicken, clean them very well by scraping the meat off with a knife. Then boil the bones in water for a while. I think I did it for 15 minutes. Then remove the bones and soak them in a jar with diluted bleach (not safe for the kids to do!). I left the bones in for a day, but 2 days would be better. Rinse off the bleach. Then, here's the kids part: I divided the bones in 4 groups, gave each of the 4 groups a ball of hardening clay. they flattened it (after playing with it for a while) and then assembled the bones into a skeleton shape and pressed the bones in firmly. The clay hardened with the bones in it. Fake fossils. Voila!

dinosaur 5 feet
Posted by: Kathy

The easiest way I found to make a dinosaur was to use a very large bullentin board or wall. Students brought in tubes from empty toilet or paper towel rolls. We glued the tubes on a painted background and created a skeleton of a dinosuar (students voted). I made the real life connection to the dinosaur wall at Dinosaur National Monument in Utah. Students loved working on the project and trying to name different types of bones. Parents enjoyed the finished art work. The one nice thing about it,you do not have to worry about it falling down or someone knocking it over. It's very inexpensive.