We finished up our skeleton unit with some really fun activities. They’re a rather confused mish-mash of activities to help drive home the science lesson, but overall I think they helped the kids understand what we talked about in our overall anatomy unit.
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Looking at how a skeleton works, the joints
First, we learned about joints using the chicken we were about to mummify. The kids each took a turn identifying a ball and socket joint and a hinge joint. They really enjoyed moving the chicken parts around. Later, I called out different joints and had them figure out what type it was. They thought that was another fun way to learn also.
Expect to get some videos of the kids identifying different joints and such when I put together my mummification post. Right now the chicken mummy is sitting in a bag and slowly dehydrating.
Next, we went through and put together a paper skeleton (the ones we used I found among my files from teaching, here’s a similar skeleton printable I found). I had originally thought they’d glue it onto black paper for a cool effect, but the kids all took one look at it, dragged out the brads, and put together their very own skeleton puppet. I had to rather laugh because I’d nearly printed it on cardstock so they could do that, but thought, “No, they’ll like this version.” Shows what I know.
Next, we filled out the skeleton page on the Junior Notebooking pages. I love these for giving your kids places to take notes and break it down section by section and then having pages like this which let them try to remember all that they’ve read.
Skeleton Unit: game
Finally, we played a game I’ve been hiding for 3 years (we played it once when the boys were in kinder, but a piece broke and I never opened the replacement copy): Skeletons In The Closet Game. Can I just say it was a huge hit! I love that it has several ways to play.
The variation we played was just an identifying game. They spun it, and had to correctly name the piece, then find it amongst the skeleton pieces.
Eventually, you will spin a bone you already have, so then you draw a card that has various results, which my kids thought were fun. One of the variations you can play you earn pieces by answering T/F questions. We might try that next time.
I’m looking forward to pulling “Skeletons in My Closet” out again in a few weeks when we haven’t just been studying skeletons to see how much they remember.
Skeleton Unit books
Our skeleton unit was part of our overall Anatomy Unit using Apologia Anatomy. But there are a lot of amazing picture books you could use with this skeleton unit.
- Skeletal System– a nice overall book for elementary kids
- The Bones You Own– a solid book from National Geographic
- Whose Bones are Those?– A nice solid look at different skeletons of animals to complement a human body skeleton unit
Of course, there are dozens more, and my library had at least another half dozen generic human skeleton books, and there are of course dozens of fictional skeleton books for Halloween.
More great science ideas for kids
Hmmm… I think I’ll have a nice random selection of different science fields. Let’s see what I can dig up.