Beacon Lesson Plan Library
Beams and Bones
Broward County Schools
The human body is like a house. Students use this analogy to learn how some parts in the human body interact.
The student understands how body systems interact (for example, how bones and muscles work together for movement).
-Model house/ building, diagram or picture (See file attached: Beams and Bones)
-3-D skeletal system, diagram or picture (from a science textbook)
- Science textbook with section on the human body and the skeletal system
- Copy of Skeletal System Function Chart (See attached file: Beams and Bones)
1. Locate a model, diagram or picture of a house being built.
2. Locate 3-D skeletal System, diagram or picture of the skeletal system. (from a science textbook)
3 Find appropriate section in your science textbook.
4- Copy Skeletal System Function Chart. (See attached file)
1. Produce a 3-D human skeletal system and a model frame of a house or a picture of a house being framed. (See attached file: Beams and Bones) Ask students if they have ever seen a house being built.
2. Encourage students to share their experience and observation of a building under construction. Discuss their observations.
3. Point out that the beams form the frame that holds up the house and gives it its shape. The walls and roof form a cover that protects the room. The inside pipes carry water through the house and the wires work together carrying electricity through the house.
4. Using textbooks have students locate the section on bones and follow in their books as teacher reads out loud. Allow the students to recall information stated in the book. The students may take notes during the reading of the lesson.
5. Ask students if they see any similarities between the house and the human body. Explain that like the house, the body is made up of parts that work together. The human body is built on the same plan as a modern skyscraper. Its skeleton is comprised of a rigid internal arrangement of beams and gliders, to which the rest of the structure is attached.
6. Working in groups of two, ask one student to place his or her left hand on top of his or her right arm, between the shoulder and the elbow. Slowly bend and straighten the arm. Let students observe the movement by feeling the muscles in their right arms.
9. Repeat the procedure with the other student.
10. Ask students what they infer about the muscles controlling the bending and the straightening of their upper arm. Is it the same muscle controling both the bending and straightening of the arm? Write students responses on the board.
11. Have students locate the section on how bones interact with muscles in their textbooks and follow as teacher reads out loud. Allow the students to recall information stated in the book. The students may take notes during the reading of the lesson.
12. Direct students to study the pictures in their textbook. Through discussion, establish the fact that one muscle, the biceps, bends the arm and another muscle, the triceps, straightens it. These muscles are attached to the bone by tendons and other connective tissues, and they exert forces on the bones.
13. Reinforce the fact that when a muscle contracts, it shortens, pulling the bone. Also reinforce that muscles move only by becoming shorter; they shorten and then they rest. A muscle can pull but it cannot push and that pulling force causes movement to take place.
14. One example from the house analogy is opening and closing of a garage door using an automatic garage door opener. When the button is pushed, electricity is supplied to the motor which turns the chain, thus applying force to open or close the garage door.
15. Ask students to think of another example where an item which is part of the house, supplies a force to another part of the house, thus causing movements to take place. Discuss their findings.
16. Distribute the Skeletal System Function Chart. (See attached file: Beams and Bones)
17. Read directions and have students complete the chart. They may use their notes and/or textbooks.
18. Collect completed charts.
19. Encourage students to continue their investigation with different muscles of the body and compare those to the closing of a screen door which has a spring to close it.
Students explain, in writing or group discussions, how bones and muscles work together to create movement using diagrams to support their answers. Formatively assess student responses and confer with students who have misconceptions. Offer additional explanation as needed.
Web supplement for Beams and BonesScholastic
Web supplement for Beams and BonesBritannica
Web supplement for Beams and BonesDiscovery Channel Online