Skeletal System Activities For Teachers

As children grow and develop, they can engage in fun ways to better understand the nature of their evolving bones and skeletal systems. As a teacher, you can capitalize on this naturally fascinating topic with activities that expand students' knowledge about their own bones and, at the same time, engage their interest. Select activities that allow students to apply what they're learning and that use the images now possible through advanced photography and science.

  1. Worksheets for Children

    • Provide skeletal system worksheets for young children in kindergarten and early elementary school. Look for worksheets that make learning about the skeletal system fun and reinforce terms you've been introducing in class. For example, skeletal system crossword puzzles can help students learn proper names for different bones, as can word searches and diagrams of skeletons with blank spaces that students can write the bone names on.

    Bone Building

    • Take a cue from the Girl Scouts and use the organization's Bone Builders program materials to educate the students, and particularly girls, in your class about osteoporosis and how to prevent it. Depending on the age level of your students, you can implement the required patch activities outlined by the Girl Scouts, which include creating place mats, making healthy snacks and drawing your body for students grades one through three, tasting bone-building foods for grades four to six and researching osteoporosis for grades seven and eight.

    Hands-On Activities

    • Facilitate a series of four activities that teach students about the skeletal system with hands-on activities. For example, teach students about the hollow strength of bones by rolling up a sheet of paper into a cylinder. Have students roll up three cylinders, tape them and stand them on end between two paper plates. Have students add weights to each top plate until the cylinders collapse. Then have students repeat the exercise with much more tightly wound paper rolls so they can see that less hollow rolls are not able to support as much weight. Use the activity to illustrate how large bones in the human body are designed to be hollow to very effectively support weight.


    • Teach students about the disastrous effects of calcium loss on bones with an activity involving vinegar and chicken bones. Soak chicken bones in jars of vinegar and jars of water for a few weeks. Bring the jars into class and allow students to compare and contrast the bones in vinegar with the bones in water. Have them record the similarities and differences. Students should be able to see that the bones in vinegar are thinner and decomposed as opposed to the bones in water. Explain that the vinegar contains acid that dissolves calcium phosphate in the chicken bones and results in decomposition. Use this to teach children about the important relationship between calcium and bones.

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  • Photo Credit skeleton image by JASON WINTER from

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