BONE-APART® skeletal construction set


Anatomy resource for dance and science.
Actively learn anatomy. Construct your own skeleton with near life-size bones that are magnetized. Enjoy building the human structure one bone at a time; challenge students with skeleton-building relays, and play “Ouch Bone,” an activity in which students identify the misplaced bone. Introduce bone magnets to your students to increase their understanding of the body’s structural landmarks.  Created by Anne Wilcox. Geared to MS, HS.




BONE-APART® involves the construction, de-construction, and reconstruction of a 5-foot tall body. When assembled it graphically demonstrates the architectural nature of the body, its structural stability, and the diversity of joints, all of which aid the study of dance.  Bone-Apart® includes labeled bones for the anterior view of the body and also for the posterior view.  First teach each view separately (anterior or posterior); later mix anterior and posterior bones together to require complex thinking about which bones go with which view.

Geared to grades 5 through 12.  BONE-APART® includes:

  • 35 bone magnets
  • 18 anterior bone magnets (near life-size; gender non-specific)
  • 17 posterior bone magnets  (near life-size)
  • 1 bonus magnet (A Napoleonic hat for instructional purposes)
  • Sturdy storage container
  • Activity sheet for teachers*  (See the full Activity List here. Download it if you order this teaching resource to get you started.)

Construction of a Bone-Apart® skeleton requires use of your own vertical metal surface such as a filing cabinet, magnetic white board, or other magnetized surface that is 5′ x 2′–even the flip side of the BYOB metal panel.  (The set may also be used horizontally without magnetized surface on a table or even on the floor.)


BONE-APART® increases the functional grasp of the skeletal system.  It offers countless experiences that bring structural anatomy to life.  Its spatial-tactile features increases retention of each bone’s location from posterior and anterior views.

  • To build a bony body takes close attention to detail, critical thinking, deductive reasoning, and spatial memory.
  • To work in pairs adds a social dimension to activities.
  • A catalyst like BoneApart® naturally stimulates curiosity, inquiry, and problem-solving (“Is this bone upside down?” “Doesn’t that bone go on the anterior skeleton?” “Where does the clavicle attach?”).
  • This magnetic set engages students on multiple levels: visually, kinetically, tactility, mentally, and spatially.


Applications include science, anatomy, dance and dance-science classes.  Suited to middle and high school; upper elementary, gifted education; education labs, science labs; dance conservatories, dance outreach and summer programs.  (Inquisitive 5th graders find tactile anatomy magnets fascinating.)


One interesting feature is Bonaparte’s hat magnet, an instructional aid that signals the skeletal model is accurate in both anterior and posterior views. Bone-Apart® may only wear a hat when all bones are in the correct place.  The hat may also signal when a group thinks they finished assembly in a relay.  An absent hat signals the skeleton needs assistance (maybe the teacher switches bones around before class to allow those who dress out early to earn an extra point for realigning the bones and replacing the hat).


Bone-Apart® is a registered trademark by Anne Wilcox, its creator.  Designed and manufactured in the USA.


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Some Suggested Activities


To begin, use these tactile-visual aids to increase personal engagement with one’s own skeletal system.  Because bones are near life-size, ask students what size they think their own bones are before they see them.  Then let them check the accuracy of their own perception after they handle the magnetized version.


  1. Divide students into four groups.
  2. Separate both construction sets into their respective 18 anterior bones and 17 posterior bones.  This gives you four sets of bones (two each view).
  3. Give each group one complete set of either anterior or posterior view bones to assemble in order to learn to construct an accurate skeleton from one view.
  4. Another day, switch stations so the group practices assembling a different view.
  5. Later in the year, after everyone is proficient in both views, divide the class into four teams.  Time the assembly process to see which group is first to assemble it correctly.  Vary the way the timed competitive assemblies are set up.
  6. Eventually divide into two teams.  Increase complexity by mixing up all the bones in one set (anterior and posterior).  Set the blue Napoleon Bonaparte hat nearby or underneath the bone magnet pile so it is the last magnet available.
  7.    In two teams, time the construction to see which team can accurately construct the skeleton in both views and put the blue hat magnet on before the other team.
  8.  Let the other team scrutinize the finished product.  If they find something amiss, they yank off the hat and start back to work while the other team tries to correct their mistakes.