Beacon Lesson Plan Library
The Skeleton Within
Bay District Schools
We know that dancing skeletons aren't real, but are our bones alive? Through an article read and various activities, students learn about the bones, joints, and other attributes of the skeletal system. Students create outlines and graphic organizers.
The student understands explicit and implicit ideas and information in fourth-grade or higher texts (for example, knowing main idea or essential message, connecting important ideas with corresponding details, making inferences about information, distinguishing between significant and minor details, knowing chronological order of events).
The student reads and organizes information (for example, in outlines, timelines, graphic organizers) throughout a single source for a variety of purposes (for example, discovering models for own writing, making a report, conducting interviews, taking a test, performing a task).
The student writes notes, comments, and observations that reflect comprehension of fourth grade or higher level content and experiences from a variety of media.
The student knows that complex animals have specialized organs to carry out life processes.
The student knows the major organ systems of the human body.
The student understands the functions of various body systems.
The student knows that processes needed for life are carried out by the cells.
-Copy of the PowerPoint presentation, Dissecting a Leg
- Copies and transparency of the article, Living Bones, from associated files (one copy per student plus the demonstration transparency)
- Copy of Possible Implicit Questions For the Article, Living Bones
- Transparency of the model outline for Living Bones
- Transparency of the graphic, Skeletal System, from the associated files
- A dictionary
- Copy of the questions that accompany the Skeletal System graphic
- Transparency of the graphic organizer, Skeleton
- Student science notebooks (made on day one for this unit)
- Overhead projector
- Copy of the Formative Assessment Checklist (see the Extensions section of this lesson plan)
- Vocabulary cards from the associated files
- Vocabulary words written on sentence strip
- One raw chicken hind quarter (leg and thigh still attached to each other)
- One pair of sharp scissors per group
- One piece of wax paper, 2 X 2 foot, per group
- Copies of the activity instructions, Dissecting a Leg, from associated files
- Transparency of the graphic, Chicken Joint, from the attached files
- Adult volunteers that can follow the directions for the dissection to serve as small group presenters (ideally, one adult per five students)
- X-rays of various bones of the body
- One large Halloween skeleton (optional)
- Word cards of the main bones of the body for identifying the bones of the Halloween skeleton (optional)
1. Download and save a copy of the PowerPoint presentation "Dissecting a Leg" from the unit's associated files.
2. Download, print, and duplicate copies and transparency of the article, Living Bones, from associated files. You need one copy per student plus the demonstration transparency.
3. Download and print a copy of Possible Implicit Questions For the Article Living Bones to use as a reference and examples of implicit questions.
4. Download, print, and make a transparency of the outline for the article, Living Bones.
5. Download, print, and make a transparency of the graphic, Skeletal System, from the aassociated files.
6. Download and print a copy of the questions that accompany the Skeletal System graphic.
7. Locate a dictionary.
8. Download, print, and make a transparency of the graphic organizer, Skeleton.
9. Pass out the student science notebooks (made on day one for this unit).
10. Locate an overhead projector.
11. Download and copy of the Formative Assessment Checklist (see the Extensions section of this lesson plan). If you are using this lesson plan as part of the unit, The Inside Story, this Formative Assessment Checklist has been used daily.
12. Download, print, and cut apart the vocabulary cards from the associated file.
13. Write vocabulary words written on sentence strip.
14. Purchase one raw chicken hindquarter (leg and thigh still associated to each other).
15. Locate one pair of sharp scissors per group.
16. Locate one pair of plastic gloves for each adult that will be touching the raw chicken.
17. Locate and cut one piece of wax paper, 2 X 2 foot, per group.
18. Recruit adult volunteers to act as the demonstrator during the dissection. Ideally, one adult should preside over about five students. The volunteer will be doing the actual dissection as students participate orally and visually.
19. Download and print a copy of the activity instructions, Dissecting a Leg, from associated files. If you are completing this activity by having adult volunteers that will be dissecting with small groups of students, one set of instructions is needed for each adult.
20. Obtain a collection of X-rays of various bones of the body. These can be obtained from your local radiology clinics. Call ahead and explain that you are a teacher teaching your students about the human body. Ask for any X-rays that the radiology office plans to discard. Note: Besides just bone X-rays, I got lungs, teeth, joints, etc. I took everything they offered!
21. Purchase one large Halloween skeleton (optional).
22. Write word cards of the main bones of the body for identifying the bones of the Halloween skeleton (optional).
This lesson plan is to be used on day 9 of the unit, The Inside -Story - Cells, Organs, and Systems of the Human Body. This is lesson plan eight of twelve included in the unit. This lesson plan integrates reading, writing, and science.
1. Review previous information about cells, tissue, organs, the digestive system, respiratory system, circulatory system, and muscular system.
2. Review the requirements of Summative Assessment #5, the body systems project, which was introduced yesterday. Collect the parent signed portion of the information packet sent home yesterday.
* Be sure to have students use their science notebooks as a reference as you ask questions about previous activities in science, reading in the content area, and writing in their science notebooks.
* Specifically, be sure to ask questions from the previous readings to reinforce the new information and to continue checking for comprehension. Use previous day's comprehension questions (both for the article and the graphic) to guide the review discussion.
* As you are reviewing, check for individual student’s understanding and mark the Formative Assessment Checklist that was begun on the first day of this unit. Give individualized feedback, both affirmative, “Yes, food is pushed through our intestines by involuntary muscles.” and corrective, “Voluntary means you do it on purpose. You can control the muscles that make you smile. Since you can control them, are they voluntary or involuntary?”
3. Using the overhead projector, display various X-rays of human bones. Have students guess which bone they are seeing. Point out any joints, breaks, or other points of interest. X-rays can later be displayed by taping them to the classroom windows.
* Display a large Halloween skeleton on the bulletin board. Have the major bones labeled. This is used as a student reference and enrichment, however knowing the proper names of the various bones is not required in fourth grade standards. (Optional)
4. Before students read the article, a study of the pronunciation of vocabulary words should be done.
*Use the dictionary as a source for finding the pronunciation of these vocabulary words: cartilage, ligament, marrow, and calcium.
*The words and pronunciations should be written, and remain on the board for student reference while reading the article. Since comprehension of these vocabulary words should be gained from reading the article, no definition study should be done at this time.
5. As a reading activity, students silently read the article, Living Bones. Before reading alert students that they are reading for the purpose of finding implicit information. Implicit means that the information is not stated in the article, but you can figure out the information from reading the article.
* An example of implicit information from yesterday’s muscular system article would be that the article states, “It is the smooth muscles that are in our organs. Smooth muscles in our stomach push food into our small intestines.” These statements imply that the muscles of the large intestines are also smooth muscles even though it was not stated in the article. A question that shows understanding of implicit information is “What kind of muscle is in the large intestine?”
* Further examples of implicit questioning can be gotten from the comprehension questions from the first four lesson plans of this unit.
6. Pass out individual copies of the article, Living Bones, and display a large projection of the article using the overhead. Allow about five minutes for students to read the article.
* As students are reading, orally praise any students who have gotten out a piece of paper and are making notes or drawing a graphic organizer.
7. After students have completed the reading, students write three questions about implicit information from the article. Remind students that implicit information is not stated in the article, but you learned it from something in the article. Allow about 5 minutes for students to write their questions. If this is the first attempt at locating implicit information, teacher assistance may be necessary.
*Refer to the sample implict questions from the associated files for further explanations and examples of implicit questioning.
8. For the next couple of days, time will be spent locating and identifying implicit information, so this skill does not have to be mastered today, but it should be explored and many examples given. Student generated implicit questions are the best resource for teaching this skill. Students can decide if the question is implicit, what information from the article helps them figure out the implicit information, as well as the answer to the implicit question.
9. Upon completion of the written implicit questions, have students orally share one of their implicit questions. Dissect the question to see if it is implicit. Ask various students to answer the implicit questions and to locate the information from the article that implied the answer.
10. Formative feedback should be given as you mark the Formative Assessment Checklist from the associated files. Use the checklist to note individual students who had problems with the content on previous days and be sure to direct specific questions to these students. Mark your checklist as to their ability to locate implicit information as well as to answer today’s questions.
* Be sure to give corrective and affirmative feedback. Corrective feedback might include responses such as, “No. Our article tells us that the knee is a ball and socket joint. It is not an implicit question!” Affirmative feedback might include responses such as, ”Great! You know that the end of your nose is made of cartilage because it is bendable but holds its shape. Using that information, you figured out that the outside of your ear is also cartilage. The information we read about our noses led us to infer the information about our ears.”
11. Pass back students' science notebooks and summative assessment #2. Answer any questions concerning the assessment. Be sure to refer to the rubric when discussing the assessment and score.
* As students are writing in their science notebook, give additional assistance to individual students who were identified by summative assessment #2 as needing individual instruction.
12. Remind students of how they organized the science information in their science notebooks (outline, paragraph, and graphic organizer/illustration). Have students put their science notebooks on their desks. On the table of contents page, make the entry “Skeletal System – page 17." Have the students turn to page 15 and looking at yesterday’s outline, review the rules of outlining.
13. Since the students will be writing the outline without seeing your model first, orally solicit entries to the outline from the students. Orally discuss the main facts that should be included. As the facts are given, elicit details that should be included on the outline.
14. After the oral discussion of today’s outline, students turn to page 17 of the science notebook and write their outline independently. Allow about ten minutes for students to write their outlines. (Times may be adjusted to meet the needs of your students.) As they are writing, circulate around the room giving feedback to students as to the setup of their outlines (proper numbering and indenting) and the correct correlation between the facts and details. Use this as a teaching opportunity by assisting weak students identified by the formative assessment checklist.
15. Upon completion of the outlines, display the sample outline. Have students compare the sample outline to their outlines as to the setup and content. Add to the model if students explain additions that should be made.
* Remember the importance of students seeing you edit your work. If students suggest a better or more descriptive word, make the change. If students suggest another fact or detail, discuss the merits of the addition, and if appropriate, make the change. This modeling of editing your work is important for the students to witness. It encourages students to edit their own work.
16. Upon completion of the editing, refer to the rubric that is in the back of the student’s science notebooks. Discuss your model outline in terms of the criteria from the rubric. Make any editing changes that may still be necessary in order to receive that excellent rating for today’s outline. Be sure to explain why these changes need to be made. It is important for the teacher to model this editing procedure using the rubric to encourage self-evaluation using the rubric.
17. Science notebooks are put aside, but will be used again after the activity.
18. Display the transparency, Skeletal System. Ask questions from the article concerning the skeletal system specifically joints, marrow, cartilage, and ligaments. See the associated files for sample questions. Keep the graphic displayed throughout the remainder of the science activities to serve as a reference.
19. Pass out the vocabulary cards and definitions. Call on a student with a word card to read their word, and then ask for the definition that is associated with that word. Pair these two as you display them on the board or in a pocket chart. Continue in this manner until all vocabulary cards and definitions have been matched and displayed. The vocabulary cards are added to the unit word wall. For the word wall, you may use the printed cards from the associated files, or make ones using sentence strip. The display and size needed will dictate which method to use.
20. Dissecting a Leg Activity
(This activity was created by Lucy Smith)
The leg (thigh and drumstick) of a chicken is structurally similar to that of our own leg, including the ball and socket “knee joint”. Dissecting a chicken leg will give students a view of the structure of their own leg. The dissection has been captured on a PowerPoint presentation for your referral and to assist students in observing, but should not be used in place of the live dissection. Follow the Dissecting a Leg Instructions given in the associated files.
21. At the completion of the activity, conduct individual formative assessments of the components of our skeletal system and their role in keeping our cells alive. Give corrective and affirmative oral feedback as you are marking the Formative Assessment Checklist.
22. Students have read about the skeletal system, written an outline of the information, and participated dissecting a chicken leg. They should be ready to complete today’s science notebook entries.
* Students write a paragraph about the new science knowledge learned today following the Florida Writes models of main idea, facts, and supporting details that you have modeled previously.
* The paragraph should contain notes about factual information, as well as comments and observations about what has been learned through today’s activities.
* Allow about 15 minutes for students to complete their writings.
23. As they are writing, circulate around the room, and using the criteria from the rubric, give oral formative feedback to individuals. Be sure students see you using the rubric as your guide. Give specific praise such as, “I see you have three details to support this fact.” and corrective feedback such as, “You need to add some details to support this fact.” The Formative Assessment Checklist is marked as appropriate.
Science/ Language Arts
24. The final activity for today’s lesson is the graphic organizer/illustration that accompanies each day’s entry in the science notebook. The purpose of the illustration is to organize information for a variety of purposes. Allow students about ten minutes to complete their illustration/graphic organizer in their science notebooks. It is important to do the paragraph writing before the graphic organizer since students may use excessive time on the illustration and not keep their focus on the writing. Doing the writing first helps students remain focused.
25. After student graphic organizers are complete, display the transparency of the graphic organizer, Skeleton. Compare the transparency graphic organizer to those the students have drawn discussing the variety of ideas of how to organize this information. Remind students that the purpose of a graphic organizer is to help them remember all the facts, so the individual graphic organizers will not be identical, but should be reminders of the same information.
26. Model using the rubric of criteria to self-assess the paragraph and illustration.
27. Science notebooks should be collected at this time. With the completion of this day’s entries in the science notebook, a formative assessment should be made of the student’s entries in their notebooks. Feedback, guided by the rubric criteria, should be written in the notebook. Be sure to mark the Formative Assessment Checklist. This documentation will assist you in planning your next modeling and discussions as you strive to meet the needs of your students.
28. Remind students again of the project due for Summative Assessment #5. The date due should be written on the board. Oral reminders should be given daily.
1. Formative assessments are integrated in this lesson plan and are described in the procedures section of this lesson plan. Examples of affirmative and corrective oral feedback are also given. A Formative Assessment Checklist is available from the unit's associated files.
The importance of individual formative assessment cannot be overstated. It is this formative assessment that guides teacher planning and individual assistance to assure that all students are successful.
2. Formatively assess the science notebooks using the rubric criteria. This criteria should also generate affirmative and corrective feedback which is written in the notebook. Be sure to mark the checklist for future reference.
1. The Beacon Unit Plan associated with this lesson can be viewed by clicking on the link located at the top of this page or by using the following URL: http://www.beaconlearningcenter.com/search/details.asp?item=2966. Once you select the unit’s link, scroll to the bottom of the unit plan page to find the section, “Associated Files.” This section contains links to the Unit Plan Overview, Diagnostic and Summative Assessments, and other associated files (if any).
2. The article can be read orally to assist students with reading problems.
3. The PowerPoint presentation, Dissecting a Leg, can be used as a review for students who were absent or need further reinforcement.
This Weblink may be used as a teacher reference, or for student use for enrichment. Students should not be allowed to use these without adult supervision as the graphics of some of the body systems are not appropriate for student use at this level. This is a child oriented site with a graphic and facts about the skeletal system. The Bone Zone, The Skeletal System
This Weblink may be used as a teacher reference, or for student use for enrichment. Students should not be allowed to use sites without adult supervision as the graphics of some of the body systems are not appropriate for student use at this level. This site allows students to select the body system they would like to explore. Sites contain a wealth of information, graphics, and animations. Since all systems are represented here, adult supervision is strongly advised. Be sure to preview before allowing students to explore this site. Inner Learning Online, The Human Anatomy Online
This link may be used as a teacher reference, or for student use for enrichment. Students should not be allowed to use sites without adult supervision as the graphics of some of the body systems are not appropriate for student use at this level. This site gives further information about the skeletal system. Skeletal System Britannica.com
This Weblink may be used as a teacher reference, or for student use for enrichment. Students should not be allowed to use sites without adult supervision as the graphics of some of the body systems are not appropriate for student use at this level. This site gives illustrations of the various body systems. Users select the system and are presented with various illustrations in which to name the organs. Since all systems are represented here, adult supervision is strongly advised. Be sure to preview before allowing students to explore this site. Web Anatomy