Why do our skeletons have so many bones?
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Why do our skeletons have so many bones?
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DISCUSS:

What do bones do for your body?

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EXTENSION FOR OLDER STUDENTS

Students Grade 3 and up can extend this activity by comparing the human hand to the bones of a mystery animal. Go to the next slide for step-by-step instructions.

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DISCUSS (1 of 2):

How are the bones in bat wings and human hands similar to each other? How are they different?

answer-key

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DISCUSS (2 of 2):

Thinking about how bats use their wings and how humans use their hands, can you explain the differences in their bones?

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Print Prep
Activity Prep

NOTE: This is our Halloween activity from 2017. It’s possible your students did this last year, so if it’s important that you do something new, we recommend trying our 2019 Halloween mini-lesson and activity, "What would happen if you didn't have a skull?"
In this mini-lesson, K-5 students consider what would happen if their body didn't have bones. In the activity, Skeleton Hand, students combine science with art: they trace their hands, then add see-through bones to their picture, making their own skeleton hand. The activity includes an extension for older students to compare their hand bones to the bones of a mystery animal.

Preview activity

Number of students:
Clean-up Supplies (Eg. Paper Towels)
1 roll per class
Crayons
Black, dark blue, or purple will work best.
Details
1 crayon per student
Extra Crayons for Extension (Grades 3-5)
Each 3rd-5th grade student also needs a yellow, green, and red crayon.
Details
3 crayons per student
Table Covering (eg. Trash Bags)
1 bag per group
Vegetable Oil
Baby oil or mineral oil will also work.
Details
1 tablespoon per group
Colored Construction Paper
Yellow, orange, red, or pink will work best.
Details
1 sheet per student
Plastic Cup (2 oz)
1 cup per group
Q-tip
1 Q-tip per student
Going Batty (Grades 3-5) printout 1 per student
Going Batty (Grades 3-5) Answer Key printout 1 per class
Skeleton Hand Discussion Potential Answers printout 1 per class
Prep Instructions

You will need windows to tape your students’ finished skeleton hands to. (Light shines through the art revealing the bones of the skeleton.)

Prepare Cups of Oil

Pour about a tablespoon of oil into a cup for each group of 4 students. You will distribute these during the activity.

Optional Extension for Older Grades

We’ve included a worksheet for students in Grades 3 to 5 to complete after making the skeleton hand. They will have the opportunity to compare the bones in their own arm with the bones in a bat wing.

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