Skeleton displays are not just for Halloween, although the lessons are a perfect match and will make a good addition to your fall classroom. You can help students learn about this system of the body with a variety of hands-on activities that double as displays for the classroom. A display that the students work on themselves is often a more effective learning tool, according to the book “Tools for Teaching” by Barbara Gross Davis.
After a lesson on the skeletal system, have the students draw a picture of themselves on drawing paper and then cut the pictures out. Hand out pieces of black construction paper and ask them to lightly trace the shape of their cut-out with a white crayon on the black paper and cut with scissors.
Instruct them to draw their skeleton on this black shape. Have diagrams of skeletons available so they can see where all the bones connect. Use these drawings as a skeleton display in the classroom.
Although bones are hard and do not appear to be alive; they can grow. Demonstrate this with a wall display of baby pictures from students and teachers. Try to guess who belongs to each picture. Study bones in this context by measuring how tall students are now, and discussing what would happen if your bones stayed the same size your whole life.
Scientifically study bones by bringing in chicken bones. Set up a jar of bones soaking in vinegar and another soaking in water. After several days the bones that were in vinegar will be bendable. Explain how the acidic vinegar removed calcium from the bone, making it soft. Follow this display with lessons in nutrition and the effect of minerals and vitamins have on your body.