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Teach a Lesson about the Human Skeleton

Elementary school students have many questions about the human body. What gives it its shape? What enables it to move? Tap this natural curiosity to teach an engaging lesson on the human skeletal system.


The skeleton makes up the human body’s bony framework. It consists of 206 bones and the accompanying ligaments and joints. The skeleton gives the body its shape, enables it to move, and protects its internal organs. Bones also store minerals, such as calcium, and are the site of blood cell production.

Students usually have some prior knowledge of their bones, whether it is from an injury or just seeing a skeleton at Halloween. Ask if anyone in the class has ever broken a bone. If a student has an injury story and is not too embarrassed to talk about it, encourage him or her to share it with the class.

Teaching tip

Diagrams of the human skeleton are useful for introductions. However, when your class is ready to move beyond the basics, hands-on models and activities are invaluable. They reinforce learning with a fun approach that engages students. Want to give them a try? Here are some recommendations:

  • Skeleton Floor Puzzle is made of life-sized foam bone pieces printed with graphics on one side and common and scientific names on the reverse. The pieces fit together easily and help students learn the names and locations of the skeleton’s bones. Once students complete the puzzle, a life-sized skeleton lies before them! Grades K–2.
  • True-to-Life Human X-Rays are copies of actual X-rays. They can be used to study individual bones or to construct a complete, 5-foot-tall skeleton. These X-rays are a great way to introduce young students to the skeletal system or to teach the science of X-rays to older students. Grades 2–7.

Carolina offers a wide variety of educational resources to help you teach about the structure and function of human body systems. See our Anatomical and Skeletal Models to learn more.

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