wNetSchool HomeThe Practical Web Service for K-12 TeacherswNetStation
WNET Educational Initiatives
Instructional Television
Lesson Plan Database

Grades 5-8

This lesson is designed as a video based in depth study of the human muscular - skeletal system. Strategies include use of video, classroom demonstrations, hands-on activities and student interaction. Using these techniques, students will explore the relationship between their skeletal and muscular systems, resulting in ability to name and compare types of joints and ability to demonstrate how muscles move bones.
Bones and Muscles #128

Putting Man in Space #109
Sports/Performances #112
Students will be able to:
(per class)

(per group of four)

(per student)
Distribute a pencil and sheet of notebook paper to each student. Display, then call attention to a jar containing 103 pieces of candy. Ask students to guess how many pieces of candy the jar contains, then have each record the guess on notebook paper. After all guesses are recorded, have students tell their guess. NOTE: Record name of student closet to 103 and the number guessed; do not reveal the correct number at this time.

Say, "The number of pieces of candy is an exact equal to the combined number of bones in your hands and feet. (name of student) came closest to the number with her/his guess of (___)." Write the closest number guessed on chalkboard, then say, "This guess is (___) greater/less than the correct number. What is the correct number?" Allow time for students to use mental computation and tell 103 as the correct number. Write on chalkboard: the combined number of bones in your hands and feet is 103. Ask, "Why are so many bones needed in these parts of your body?" Allow time for students to internalize, then explain that the hands and feet perform very complicated tasks. Elicit identification and description of tasks performed by these body parts.

Encourage students to use their imaginations as you ask, "How would your ability to perform a task be different if your elbows were located somewhere else on your arm?" Elicit discussion leading to individual perceptions of whether performance of everyday tasks would be made easier or more difficult. List student ideas on chalkboard; have classmates briefly debate validity of each idea.

Write hypothesis on chalkboard. Ask students to define the term. Select a volunteer to write the definition under the term. (An hypothesis is an assumption or best guess based on all available data and facts.)

Divide the class into groups of four students each. Distribute one large piece of tag board, one scissors, one metric ruler, one pencil, one hole punch and two brass brads to each group. Say, "Measure, then cut out a strip of tag board 2cm wide and 30cm long. This will be used to represent the bone in your upper arm." Allow time for task to be completed. Say, "Cut a second strip of the same width and 20cm long to represent the bone in your lower arm." After this has been accomplished, instruct students to measure 1cm from either end of both strips, use the hole punch to make openings, then connect the two strips using a brass brad. After models have been assembled say, "Place the pencil where the shoulder would be located, then move the lower arm bone to reach and touch the pencil." Allow time for groups to attempt assigned task; have them discuss results explaining why the task isn't possible.

Ask, "Could you touch the pencil if the upper arm bone were 40cm and the lower arm bone were 10cm long?" Allow time for individual groups to consider the question and develop an hypothesis. Call on each group to present and qualify their hypothesis; do not permit other groups to challenge at this time. Say, "Make another model using 40cm for upper arm bone and 10cm for lower arm bone. After the model is assembled, use it to test your group's hypothesis." Allow time for completion and for each group to evaluate their hypothesis.

Tell students to reach with their left hand and touch their left shoulder. Next, have them reach across the work area and pick up any available item. Ask, "In addition to bones, what other important body tissue in your arms helps you reach and grasp items?" (muscle tissues/muscles) Provide opportunity for students to share knowledge of how their bones and muscles work together in helping them move.
Say, "Every movement made by your body, whether running, kicking a ball or performing a simple task like picking up a pencil requires your bones and muscles to work together. You are going to see a video which explains how muscles function in helping you move." To give students a specific responsibility while viewing say, "Watch and be prepared to explain how they function to help create movement."

Bones and Muscles #128

Begin tape following visual of the muscle man; audio is, "...at a joint near you." STOP tape with visual of Bill Nye pedaling off on a bicycle; audio is, "I gotta go." Allow time for students to explain that skeletal muscles contract to produce motion. Write contract on chalkboard. Discuss meaning leading to conclusion that skeletal muscles become shorter as they contract.

Write skeleton on chalkboard. Ask, "How would you define a skeleton?" Elicit discussion leading to conclusion that a skeleton is usually the bony framework supporting soft tissue and protecting internal organs of a vertebrate. Write vertebrate on chalkboard and explain as a classification of animals with a spinal column (backbone).

Write skeletal muscles on chalkboard. Say, "Skeletal muscles are usually attached to the skeleton. When stimulated by a nerve, they contract rapidly creating motion. Nerves are messengers for your body." Explain this can be proved through a simple demon-stration. Tell students to follow your command, then say, "Quickly raise your right arm!" Elicit discussion concluding that the brain sent the message "quickly raise your right arm" through a network of nerves to the skeletal muscles in your arm. When the muscles were stimulated by the nerves, they quickly contracted creating necessary movement for your arm to be raised. Write voluntary control on chalkboard, then say "Skeletal muscles usually move because your brain consciously sends a message." Write in-voluntary control on chalkboard. Ex-plain: when you touch a hot unit on a stove, you immediately (without thinking why) move your hand away. Allow time for students to discuss the two types of muscle control. Review how skeletal muscles function by asking, "Whether it's through voluntary or involuntary control, what does a muscle do when it is stimulated by a nerve?" (It contracts or gets shorter, thereby creating motion of the bone it is connected to.)

Write tendon on chalkboard. Say, "This is a tough cord or band of tissue that unites a muscle with some other part, as a bone. What is its function?" (trans-mits the force which the muscle exerts) Allow for discussion. Write Achilles tendon on chalkboard. Ask any volunteer not wearing a boot-type shoe to stand in a location where others can see their feet. Instruct her/him to keep their toes positioned on the floor, then raise the heel of one foot off the floor. Say, "Feel for a rather large and tough band of tissue leading from your heel to the calf muscle in your leg. How would you describe it?" Allow the volunteer to respond, then in-struct other students to locate their Achilles tendon. Ask, "What are most individuals doing if their Achilles tendon becomes injured?" (participating in a sport which requires strenuous use of legs) Write ligament on chalkboard. Have students contrast a tendon and a ligament.

Say, "In the next video, you will see several people involved in various activities." To give students a specific responsibility while viewing say, "Be pre-pared to list the activities along with muscles and bones they had to use."

Sports/Performances #112

Begin tape with graphic visual of FUTURES. STOP tape on graphic visual of Sport Performance. Allow time for students to name activities shown on the video. List each on chalkboard as identified. Engage students in discussion of bones and muscles most actively involved during each activity. Encourage students to share accounts of any in-voluntary use of muscles they recognized.

Write joints on chalkboard. Ask students to share their knowledge about joints. Say, "Science becomes integral for any athletic performance in which participants strive to excel. Think of your body as a finely tuned machine in which movement is achieved by parts and joints working together efficiently." Emphasize, joints are the points of contact between skeletal bones and the parts that surround and support them. Say, "Feel your elbows, then your knees. What motions do elbows and knees allow you to perform?" Elicit discussion allowing students to describe the capabilities of movement in elbows and knees. Ask, "What movement limitations do you recognize in elbows and knees?" Accept all reasonable answers.

Instruct students to extend the index finger on either of their hands. Say, "Begin with the joint where your index finger is attached to your hand and count the number of joints." Confirm there are three. Say, "Now examine your middle, ring and little fingers, then compare them to your index finger." Allow students to share comparisons. Confirm all four fingers have a like number of joints. Say, "Move your four fingers and compare their motions." Confirm all fingers move the same. Ask, "Were the movements of your fingers voluntary or involuntary?" (voluntary) Say, "Now count the number of joints in your thumb." Confirm two. Ask, "Does your thumb move differently or the same as your fingers?" (same) Ask, "Why do you suppose your thumb has one less joint than your fingers?" Allow students to share beliefs without challenge. Say, "Move your elbow and compare its motion to your fingers' motions." Allow time for comparisons. Reminder: Students have remained in groups of four. Distribute the following items to each group: one large drinking straw, one plastic stirrer, one scissors and one straight pin. Say, "Use these materials and work as a cooperative group to make a special type of joint capable of back and forth movement." Give the following instructions permitting time for achieving each step before in-structing the step to follow. Cut a notch in the large straw so one end of the plastic stirrer will fit through; cut a v-shaped point on one end of stirrer; place v-shaped end of stirrer into the straw's notch so the stirrer point almost touches the inside surface of the straw opposite the notch; insert the straight pin through the straw where the stirrer was inserted; then, push the pin through the stirrer and out the side of the straw. This completes your movable joint. Instruct groups to move the stirrer up and down. Say, "Compare the movement of your model to the movement of your elbow joint." Allow time for students to share comparisons. Ask, "Is there a con-trast to be made about your model's movement and movements your fingers can make?" Allow for responses.

Ask, "What is a joint?" Elicit discussion. Lead to conclusion that a joint is any place in the body where two bones come together. Say, "There are five types of joints found in the human body." To give students a specific responsibility while viewing say, "Watch the next video and identify the type joint you just made. In addition, watch for the other four joints found in the human body and be prepared to name an example of each."

Bones and Muscles #128

Begin tape with visual after Bill Nye has walked through a doorway with a skeleton; audio is, "Consider the following." STOP tape with visual of Bill holding a skull; audio is Bill screaming. Ask, "What name is given to the type of joint made by your group?" Confirm the correct answer is hinge joint. List on chalkboard.

Ask volunteers to name and provide an example of the four remaining joint types found in the body. List on chalkboard; encourage student interaction relative to each type. The four other joint types and examples are: ball and socket joint (shoulder); pivot joint (bones in the neck); gliding joint (wrist); and fixed joint (skull).

Distribute the following to each student: one copy of the activity sheet; one pencil; one large sheet manila construction paper; one bottle paste or glue; and one scissors. Say, "Cut out bones of the skeletal system found on the activity sheet. Assemble them on your construction paper. After checking to assure they have been accurately assembled, glue/paste each to the construction paper. After the skeleton is assembled and glued to the paper, locate and label an example of the five types of joints you have learned. Draw a line with an arrow pointing to the joint to be identified; use the line for labeling." Allow time for students to accomplish the task; assist as needed. Review for accuracy, then display on wall outside your classroom.

Say, "Scientists study movement of the human body in many different ways and for many different reasons." Write robotics on chalkboard then ask, "What do you believe this means?" Allow students to share their beliefs. Say, "One group of scientists who rely heavily on robots is the astronauts. Why might robots be so helpful to them?" Engage students in discussion drawing conclusion that some operations outside the space-craft may be more easily and efficiently performed by robots when in an environ-ment unsuitable for humans.

To give students a specific responsibility while viewing say, "As you watch the next video, look for types of joints in-cluded in the design of the robots and be prepared to describe tasks they per-formed."

Putting Man in Space #109

Begin tape after final scene of underwater simulation; audio is, "We have a lot of robotic research..." STOP tape on visual of robotic hand catching a baseball thrown by Jaime. Ask a volunteer to list on chalkboard as students tell various joints included in the robots designs. After joints have been identified, continue with student interaction as they name tasks performed by the robots.

Say, "Another part of your skeletal system that's vital for movement is the spine. What common name have you heard in reference to the spine?" Elicit backbone. Ask, "Is your spine/backbone a single bone structure?" Allow for re-sponses.

To give students a specific responsibility while viewing say, "Watch the video to test accuracy of your belief about the spine's structure."

Bones and Muscles #128

Begin tape and mute sound immediately after narrator says, "...snake has five hundred or more bones;" video is graphic 500+ displayed in front of a box. PAUSE tape immediately following video which shows movement of the human back. Ask, "Was your belief about the number of bones in the spine accurate?" Allow students to respond.

To give students a specific responsibility while viewing say, "As you watch the same video again but this time with audio, be prepared to tell the number of bones that make up the spine and what the bones are called."

REWIND tape to beginning of previous segment; reactivate audio and begin tape immediately after audio of narrator, "...snake has five hundred or more bones." STOP tape after visual of snake crawling in front of Bill; audio is, "Snakes are so flexible." Allow time for students to discuss vertebrae and confirm there are twenty-six bones that make up the spine/backbone.
Say, "The backbone is made up of more than two dozen smaller bones separated by tissue called cartilage." Cartilage cushions long bones against shock and prevents them from rubbing against one another. Write cartilage on chalkboard. Discuss.

Distribute the following materials to each student: three plastic drinking straws; pair scissors; and 3 pieces of 12 inch string. Give the following directions: thread a piece of string through one of the straws; place it to one side; cut another straw into 4 equal pieces, then thread them together; place to one side; cut the third straw into 10 pieces, then thread them together; place to one side. Say, "Support the first straw by holding both ends of string and attempt to make it bend without creasing it." Have students contrast this straw's ability to bend with their own backbone.

Say, "Support the straw cut into four sections by holding both ends of string and test its ability to bend." Again, have students contrast this straw's ability to bend with the ability of their backbone.

Say, "Use the same method and test the ability of straw number three to bend." As before, have students contrast with the ability of their backbone. Ask a volunteer to stand and demonstrate how he/she might walk if they had a single bone for a backbone. Say, "If your spine were a single bone, how would you pick up a book dropped on the floor?" (it would not be possible) Allow time for students to discuss importance and ways of maintaining healthy muscular and skeletal systems.
Plan a field trip to an orthopedic clinic. Request an interview with a nurse or physician. Have students pre-prepare questions to be asked during the interview.

Communicate on the internet through NASA Space Link to find more information on robotics and to learn effects space travel has on the human body.

Identify a doctor who attends to injured athletes in your district. Invite her/him to visit your classroom and discuss common injuries to bones and muscles, how they are treated and how athletes can minimize their potential for injury.
Creative Writing
Have students trace one of their hands on construction paper. Say, "Think of special things the hands do, such as wave, paint, play a musical instrument, used in a sport, etc." Select a favorite function, then compose a poem about the hand and the function. Write it on the construction paper or inside the outline of your hand. Display poems.

Write a story about what life would be like for humans who had no bones. Allow volunteers to share their stories with classmates.

Mathematics Measure and Check:
Measure around the thumb, then double it; measurement should be the same size as your wrist. Measure your wrist, then double it; measurement should be the same size as around your neck. Measure from your elbow to your wrist; should be length of your foot. Research and discover other measurement equals. Compare your measurements with classmates.

Computer Programs 3-D Body A.D.A.M.

Master Teachers: Jaci Stewart and Anna Sedoris

Lesson Plan Database
Thirteen Ed Online