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Learning About The Human Body Part 1: The Skeletal And Muscular Systems

At the end of each school year, I sit down with my daughter to discuss what topics she most wants to learn about the next year. One of her science topics she picked to study this year was the human body. Instead of ordering a boxed curriculum set, I decided to put together my own human body unit. In this 3 part series I will share some of the activities and resources we used for each of the body systems starting with the skeletal and muscular systems.


The Human Skeletal System

Our skeletons are the frame of our body. They give us structure, without them our bodies would be limp like noodles. They also provide places for muscles to attach so our bodies can move.

Why Does Your Body Need Calcium? Experiment:

This is a simple experiment you can do to explore why calcium is important for our bones.

You will need:

-several clean chicken bones


-a bowl with a lid or plastic wrap to cover it

Let your child examine a clean chicken bone. Note how hard it is.

Place several clean chicken bones into a bowl and cover with vinegar. You should notice small bubbles forming on the bones. This is the product of a reaction between the vinegar and the calcium in the bones. 

Cover the bowl and set aside. After several days check your bones. They should begin to feel soft and spongy after a while. This happens because the vinegar has reacted with calcium in the bones. Calcium plays an important role in bone strength and hardness. Without it our bones wouldn't be as strong or hard.

Resources For Learning About The Skeletal System:

-Bones from The Dr. Binocs Show is a great video for kids about the human skeletal system.

-Bones And The Human Skeletal System from Ducksters has lots of general information about the human skeletal system plus an online quiz.

-Skeletal System from Biology Kids has lots of great information about bones, the human skeleton, x-rays, and more.

-Pasta Skeletons a fun anatomy activity from Martha Stewart 

-Skeleton Worksheet And Craft from Layers Of Learning 

The Human Muscular System

Our muscles are what allows our body to move.  Muscles are attached to bones with ligaments. When our brains send the signal, our muscles contract, moving our bones.

Articulated Hand Activity:

This is a really awesome hands on activity for learning about the muscular system.

This activity requires a little patience but turns out really awesome!

You will need:

-Construction paper

-A pencil


-A few plastic drinking straws



Start by tracing a hand, the bigger the better, so an adult hand is preferable. Next cut the hand out.

Cut the plastic straws into small pieces about 1/2 inch long.

Tape the straw pieces in a row down each finger. Try to fit 3 on each finger and 2 on the thumb. You can use a few longer sections to run down the hands to the wrist. Taping the pieces on is the part that requires a little patience. It can be a little hard to get them all in place.

Cut 5 lengths of string long enough to run down from the tips of the fingers to a few inches past the wrist.

Tape a string to the back if each finger tip. Pull the string over the tip of the finger and string it through the plastic straws running down that finger, then through the straw running to the wrist.

Once all the fingers are threaded, you can pull the strings to make the fingers bend open and closed!

Resources For Learning About The Muscular System:

-How Your Muscular System Works from TED-Ed is a video about how our muscles work to move our body parts.

-Biology For Kids: The Muscular System from Ducksters has lots of general information about muscles and the human muscular system.

-The Muscular System from Kids Biology has information about how muscles work and the different types of muscles.

-Label The Muscles Printable  from

-Muscular System Word Find Printable from

And be sure to check out:

Part 2: The Respiratory And Circulatory Systems!

Part 3: The Digestive And Nervous Systems

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  1. Looks super fun! We did human body a few weeks ago. I'll have to try the bones in vinegar soon, though.

  2. Your Articulated Hand Activity is such a great idea! I am definitely going to try this one at home. Thank you for sharing!


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