The Skeleton Part 1

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Students will learn the parts and function of the skeleton by learning the names of the bones and creating a model of the skeleton.

Big Idea

Students learn that the skeleton is an essential part of the human body and that it holds us up and protects major organs.


15 minutes

Students are asked to sit on the meeting place rug to learn about the next part of the human body.  I start the lesson by going over our K-W-L chart that we  have been working on and adding to throughout this unit.  As we read over the chart, I ask students if there is any information that we can add to our chart or if there are any new questions to add.  I add to the chart as needed. 

I tell the students that we are going to read a book called Bones by Seymour Simon.  During the reading, I will stop periodically and simplify or explain the vocabulary that is used. For example, students will not know what "phalanges" are, so I stop and show them that they are simply the bones in the fingers and toes". 

I chose to read this book because of the illustrations and real photos that are used to show the students what the skeleton looks like in real life.  Since students cannot see our bones, it is helpful to use a book with real photos.

After finishing the book, I ask the students to turn knee to knee to their shoulder partner and share two things that they learned from the book about the skeleton.  I model what the turn and talk should look like with another adult in the room using a sentence stem.

"I learned that the skeleton..." or " I learned ___________ from the book."


15 minutes

I ask the students to go back to their seats so that we can work on adding the skeleton to "Jack", our life size human felt body.  In the previous lessons in this unit, we have been adding parts and organs to the felt body as we have learned about them. 

I have them at their seats during this part of the lesson because the felt body is hanging at the front of the room rather that at our meeting place. 

Now, I teach the students the names and purpose of the major bones in our body.  As I name them for the students I ask if anyone knows or has an idea of what that bone does or where in the body it is found.

As students give responses and we talk about each bone, I invite a student up to "Jack" to place the bone on his body.  I use my turn taking sticks in order to fairly choose students to have a turn.

The bones I teach to them are minimal because of their age.  I do not want to overwhelm them with too much information.

I teach:

femur - the longest bone in the human body

ribs (cage) - to protect the heart and lungs

skull - to protect the brain

pelvis or pelvic bone - where our legs connect to the body

sternum - to provide support to the body and is connected to the ribs to help protect the lungs and heart

Students love putting the skeleton together.  It makes the concept become whole for them when they can see that the bones are all singular pieces.  Typically  students see a whole skeleton and often do not realize that the skeleton is made up of many bones.


Independent Work

20 minutes

After we finish placing the bones onto "Jack", I explain to students that we will now make a model of a skeleton using Q-Tips and construction paper.

I have previously cut Q-Tips to all different lengths and sizes.  I tell students that while the students are creating a skeleton, they should think about which bones in the body are longer or shorter such as the femur or phalanges and to make sure that they place them in the correct places on their skeleton.

I start a Q-Tip skeleton of my own to model for the students of what it should look like. I do this before passing any materials out so that students will be focused on my modeling rather than what is on their tables.

While I model, I will choose a Q-Tip and say to the students, "This is a long bone like the femur.  I could use a long bone for the femur since our femur is the longest bone in our body."

I model several different bones of the body before allowing the students to start on their own Q-tip skeleton.

After modeling, I tell students that it is their turn to make a skeleton.  I remind the students that if they get stuck and need help or advice, they can raise their hand for help or ask a table partner. 



5 minutes

As students finish up their Q-tip skeletons, I will begin going over the K-W-L chart to close the lesson.  We will make sure that we add any new information leaned in today's lesson and add any new questions that the students may have. 

I use turn taking sticks to choose 5-6 students to help add information to the chart. 

At the end of this lesson, I will let the students know that we will continue to learn more about the skeleton and bones in our next science lesson.