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.

http://www.nasa.gov/audience/foreducators/topnav/materials/listbytype/Bag_of_Bones_Activity.html

Objective:

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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