Suggested Activities for Bone-Apart® Skeletal Magnets
Some Activities for Bone-Apart® Magnets*
This is a good starter activity for the bone magnets. Separate the anterior bones from the posterior view bones. Mix all the anterior bones together; then reconstruct the anterior skeleton starting at the skull. (Repeat the activity using the posterior bones.)
Hide the bones all over the room. When the instructor gives the signal the students go searching for the hidden bones (perhaps the bones are part of an excavation site); as students find the bones, they bring them to the metal surface and attach them. Be sure anterior bones go with anterior bones and posterior with posterior bones.
For additional rounds:
- Set a time limit
- See which group has the shortest time
- Give a reward for quick reconstruction
Form two teams. The goal is for each team to construct the skeleton before the other team. Set the metal sheet about 10 feet away from the starting line. Each team member chooses a bone from the pile then runs to the metal sheet and places the bone in its anatomically correct place. The first team to complete its skeleton wins.
Easier method: pre-sort the anterior and posterior bones and give the separate piles of bones to each group.
Harder method: Don’t pre-sort and keep all bones in one pile; each team grabs from this pile. Be sure to distinguish if you have a bone from the posterior or anterior view.
It would be very painful if a bone were not in its proper place. In Ouch Bone students need to find the misplaced bone. Perhaps a femur is upside down, or the pelvis is on backwards. In the first rounds the instructor can misplace a bone for the class to find; in subsequent rounds the students can misplace a bone for each other to position properly.
What’s This Bone?
Cover the label name on each bone. Pile the magnets together and place in a container. Have students close their eyes and pull a bone from the box. Once they have a bone in hand, they open their eyes and say the name of that bone. If they are correct, it is placed on the metal surface; if incorrect the bone goes back in the pot. Play continues until all the bones have been named and the skeletons are complete.
*Activities are made more challenging by covering the labels on the bone with a small sticker.
Connect and Construct
- Joints: Focus on the connections of the bones to emphasize the location and function of joints. Locate different kinds of joints: ball and socket, hinge, etc.
- Practice: Choose a series of three bones. See how many anatomically correct ways it can move.
- Connections: Once the full skeleton is constructed, investigate the architectural nature of the body. Going from core to distal, compare similarities and differences of related parts such as shoulders and hips, knees and elbows, wrists and ankles, hands and feet.
- Connections: Focus on the relationship of several localized parts. Construct a series of bones, such as a pelvis, femur, knee cap, tibia/fibula. Take the series to its maximum range of extension on the magnet board–and also of flexion– to explore the anatomical range and function of different joints.
- Create: Create shapes with the magnetic skeleton that correspond to actual movements the body’s joints allow. Next, embody the shape to sense how the bones provide body stability. Lastly, explore each of the above joints for their range of mobility.
- Deconstruct one of the joints to see how the two bones articulate to move.
- Deconstruct parts of the constructed boney body to see the relationship of the length of certain “long bones” to each other (e.g., femur and tibia/fibula, the humerus and the femur, etc.)
Pin the Bone on the Skeleton
(A tactile and spatial activity/game)
- First, identify the space where the skeleton is to be built.
- Second, with their eyes closed have each student select a bone at random from a pile. Without opening eyes feel the shape of the bone in hand to identify it.
- Third, with eyes still closed, students go to the board and place the bone where it belongs (or at least where they think it should be). Once a bone is placed the turn is over. Continue until all bones have been “pinned” to the board.
- Fourth, open eyes to discover/discuss the outcome:
- How accurate were you? Where were you nearly accurate?
- Any especially interesting placements?
- How would the existing placement of bones/joints work for dance?
This game is fun when done in competing groups. See which group has most accurate placement, most creative pose, or strangest shape (don’t miss an opportunity to talk about wacky joint placements or zany connections). To close with a timed “Reconstruct” activity, see which group can accurately reassemble their skeleton first.
Pack it Up
The students are archeologists and need to ship the collection of bones to a research center. Students take turns removing a bone from the assembled skeleton. As they remove the bone they must label the bone and say (or write) three facts about it. For instance, if a student chose the humerus bone, some facts could be:
- this is a long bone;
- it is part of the shoulder joint;
- it connects with the ulna and radius at the elbow joint,;
- one end is part of a hinge joint the other end a ball and socket joint;
- the bicep is attached in front, the tricep attaches in back (posteriorly)
When labeled correctly, the archeologist can “wrap” the bone and place it in the container for shipping.
Historical Portraits: Famous Generals
This activity connects famous paintings as part of the learning. (Examples use famous generals but other portrait categories are equally suited. Pick full-body, front facing, action images of noteworthy people to connect to history and art.)
Task One— Divide into two groups. Display the full-body portrait of Napoleon Bonaparte in his characteristic stance (posture) from Napoleon Bonaparte: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Napoleon.
Task each group to describe his stance in skeletal terms. (This requires close, thoughtful viewing.) Alternate so each group gets equal turns answering, going as long as possible. Each correct answer earns that group one point if the activity is a game.
Task Two—(timed activity). Groups are tasked to arrange Bone-Apart® magnetic bones to recreate Bonaparte’s stance (portrait)—Group 1 from an anterior view, Group 2 from a posterior view. The group that first accurately completes the task earns five points.
Task Three—Groups then switch places (to work with the other assembled skeletal view). They assess whether it is an accurate Napoleonic stance, notating any inaccuracy. (Make sure gestures are on the correct side in the posterior view.) Once the teacher confirms each inaccuracy, the group may correct it to earn a point for each correction. All must be accurate before going to the next task.
Task Four – (timed activity). Groups remain with the 2nd view. This time the full-body image of another noted general is projected, such as George Washington in Leutze’s “Washington Crossing the Delaware.” George Washington:
Allow time to study the new image, then start the timer. Each group is to transform the Napoleonic stance into that of Washington—one group posterior, the other anterior.
The process follows the same format as before: groups earn points by being the first to finish (5 pts) and the group who critiques and assesses also corrects inaccuracies in the opposing group’s work for the chance to earn one point each. At the end add points to determine the highest scorer.
Adaptations of Historical Portraits: Famous French Warriors (Napoleon, Joan of Arc/Jeanne d’Arc); Images of American Presidents.
Flesh and Bone
(A muscle and bone activity/game)
If muscles, fascia, ligaments, tendons, and skin were gone, only the bones would remain. Choose a bone magnet at random, then with her own body, the student demonstrates the joint movement(s) of that bone (i.e., if the student selects the skull she demonstrates flexion/extension, and rotation). The student earns a point if she can accurately name the kind of joint this bone helps to create, and an additional point for each muscle crossing that joint. This can work with the whole class or in small groups. A separate score keeper might be useful. If not points, some other award will do.
Play this game like Jeopardy. Place stickers on each bone of the skeleton with a number value on it (100, 200, 300, 400). You may have four stickers for each bone or just one depending on how long you want the game to be. Create questions about that bone for students to answer (i.e., “I’ll take the Cranium for 100.”). This step should be followed by a fairly easy question such as “Name one function of the cranium.” You could do this in true Jeopardy fashion by providing an answer and having the student provide the question. Either version is fun. Remove a bone from the board once all its questions have been selected and exhausted. After all the bone trivia has been answered, the person (or team if in groups) with the most points wins.
Improvisations On Mobility And Stability (HS– Grades 11-12)
After the Construct/Deconstruct Activities above, embody the discoveries
- Stability—Moving from the Bones: Explore moving from a skeletal perspective. Feel (experience) how the bones provide inner support to the body for stability. Experience how awareness of stability by moving the skeletal system increases balance. Experience this in place and while traveling.
- Mobility—Moving from the Joints: Explore movement that is initiated from the joints to feel (experience) how the boney connecting places provide the means for human movement, flexibility and mobility.
- Flexibility—Moving with Internal Awareness: Locate the spine. It is not part of the back. So experience the spine as more internal to the body. Experience how it supports stability and uprightness and also torso flexibility, motion, and shape.
Joint-Specific Movement Study
Mobility: Take 3 distinct kinds of joints such as 1) hinge, 2) ball and socket, and 3) pivot joints. Create 16 counts of movement featuring each kind of joint. Once complete, arrange the three distinct sections in order to make a pleasing beginning, middle, and end sequence. (The study contains 48 counts of movement.) Which choices did you make? Which of the three joint actions offered the most movement possibilities? Which was easiest to move? What were some of your movement limitations? What word best describes each section? What is the best title for the whole study?
For Experienced Students: To the above, create transitions between each section to join the sections, adding continuity to the main 48 count movement study.