Bag of Bones Classroom Activity – Grades K-8

Student and Skeleton

Let’s crunch some bones!

Students test bone density using plastic snack bags, corn puff cereal and a heavy book. They apply the scientific method to determine degrees of bone loss and learn why healthy bones are important in space and on Earth.


Following this activity, the student will be able to

  • Identify the effects of decreased bone mass (osteoporosis)
  • Describe why healthy bones are important in space and on Earth

National Science Standards:

  • Unifying Concepts and Processes in Science
  1. Evidence, models, and explanation
  2. Change, constancy, and measurement
  • Science as Inquiry
  1. Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry
  2. Understanding about scientific inquiry
  • Life Science
  1. Structure and function in living systems
  2. Diversity and adaptations of organisms
  • Science in Perspective
  1. Personal health
  • History and Nature of Science
  1. Nature of science

National Mathematics Standards:

  • Mathematics as problem solving
  • Mathematics as reasoning
  • Mathematical connections
  • Computation and estimation

Materials Needed:

  • Corn puff cereal (approx. 4.5 oz. per group)
  • Ziplock snack bags (6 5/8 inch x 3 ¼ inch) – 5 per group (larger bags holdtoo much cereal to count in a reasonable amount of time)
  • Permanent markers for labeling bags
  • Heavy books (one per group)
  • Student Activity Guide (one per student)
  • Broom and dustpan (for clean-up)

Time Required:

This activity may be spread out over a two- or three-day period. You maywish to use the first day for discussion and baggie preparation, and the second and third days for experimentation, data collection, and discussion.

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