Bones, Bones, Bones - WebQuest
Click on the picture to the right to see an x-ray of the hand
The human skeleton has many of the same functions as the skeletons of other animals you have studied. The skeleton supports the body and gives it shape. It protects body organs such as the heart and lungs. The skeleton also allows movement. Muscles are attached to the bones and pull them allowing the bones to move. The bones act as a warehouse for the body storing minerals such as calcium and phosphorus. These minerals make the bones hard. The bones also act as a factory producing blood cells to transport oxygen, fight disease-causing bacteria, stop bleeding, and replace worn out cells. The human body contains 206 bones!
Dissecting an owl pellet is a great way to reinforce your knowledge of our skeletal system. When an owl catches its prey, it swallows the animal whole. The owl cannot digest the fur and bones so its body separates the bones and fur from the fleshy meat parts. The meaty parts proceed further into the digestive system and the bones and the fur are compacted together and cast (spit) out. There are an average of 2-3 animals per pellet. This owl pellet investigation is much more meaningful if you know the names of the major bones in the human skeletal system.
In this webQuest, you will take a virtual tour of our skeletal system, practice labeling some of the major bones, compare our bones to those of a rodent and bird, and explore an owl pellet in your classroom.
OWL PELLETS ARE A GREAT COMPLIMENT TO THE STUDY OF THE HUMAN SKELETAL SYSTEM. IF YOU ARE NOT ABLE TO GET OWL PELLETS FOR THE CLASS, OR ARE NOT INTERESTED IN THAT ACTIVITY, THERE IS STILL PLENTY OF GOOD INFORMATION SOLELY ON THE HUMAN SKELETAL SYSTEM. JUST SKIP TASKS 3 AND 4.
1. Students will describe the functions of the skeletal system.
2. Students will list and describe the structure of bones.
3. Students will be able to identify and label the major bones of the human body.
4. Students will compare the bones of the human skeleton to the bones of a vole and a bird.
5. Students will further their understanding of bone structure by dissecting an owl pellet and labeling the rodent and bird bones found.
6. Students will create a bar graph representing the number of each bone found in the pellet.
Computers with Internet access and Web Browsers (one computer for every two students). Or an LCD connected to the teacher's computer.
This WebQuest requires serveral plug-ins from Shockwave. These include Macromedia's - Shockwave and Flash Player.
Choose your operating system and Browser, download them and install them.. Use the links from the line above to get the plug-ins.
It is also necessary to at least one printer.
Owl pellet dissection supplies
Owl pellets and teacher resources may be purchased through Mountain Home Biological, Box 277, White Salmon, WA 98672 www.pelletlab.com
Paper plates snack size baggies
Knitting needles or toothpicks
Pencil / Writing Utensil.
Task #1: Enter The Bone Zone Record notes as you learn about the skeletal system.
Describe the functions of the skeletal system.
Describe and illustrate the structure of bones.
Describe at least 10 of the major bones of the body.
Take a quiz and then enjoy some jokes.
Task #2: Test your knowledge of the human skeleton.
Click here to see what you know! See how many bones you can label. (Pages from this web site may be printed for further practice, or to use as the students stay on the web site from task #1)
Task #3: Compare the bones of the human skeleton to the bones of rodent (vole) and a bird.
Review your knowledge of human bones. Predict the similarities and differences between human bones and rodent bones.
Based on your prior knowledge, do you think that the human bones will be similar or different from the rodent bones? Why?
Compare your human skeleton with the labels, to the vole skeleton (below).
Record your observations
Share your observations of the human/vole skeleton comparison with a partner.
Based on your observations, predict the similarities and differences between human/ vole bones and the bones of a bird.
Will the bird's bones be similar or different? Write your hypothesis with an explanation.
Compare the human and vole skeleton to the bird's skeleton.
Record your observations.
To the right is the skeleton of the bird.
Task #4: Dig in to your owl pellet!!!!
Most of the bones that you see will be rodent bones. If you are lucky, you may find some bird bones. You will need 2 paper plates and a teasing needle or a toothpick, an owl pellet and a baggie to store the bones overnight.
Carefully pull the pellet apart with your hands.
Separate the bones from the fur with the teasing needle. Set the bones on one plate and fur on the other plate.femur,humerus, scapula, ribs, vertebrae and more...
Use the diagram of the rodent and bird skeleton to identify the bones. Look carefully for the tibia, fibula,
Sketch each type of bone found and label it. Tally the number of each bone that you have.
Create a bar graph (such as the one below) representing the number of each bone found in the owl pellet. Click on the words "bar graph." Print the graph and shade up to the correct number representing the amount of each bone found.
Task #5: Click here to do some really fun extension activities:
Take a tour of the skeletal system. Challenge yourself to build a skeleton and learn about some other systems of the body.
Watch a movie about the skeletal system and take a quiz.
Play some bone games.
Visit Mr. Bones.
Create a word search or crossword puzzle with some of the new terms you learned.
Visit the Yuckiest Site on the Internet to explore gross body sounds and the yuckiest body parts.
Learn more about owls.
Created August 16, 2001
Last Revised August 16, 2001
Suggested Grade Level: 7
Science Content Standards:
Grade 7-Life Sciences- 5c How bones and muscles work together to provide a structural framework for movement.
Grade 7-Investigation and Experimentation-
7b Utilize a variety of print and electronic resources (including the World Wide Web) to collect information as evidence as part of a research project.
7c Communicate the logical connection among hypothesis, science concepts, tests conducted, data collected, and conclusions drawn from the scientific evidence.
7e Communicate the steps and results from an investigation in written reports and verbal presentations.
S.C.O.R.E. Lessons Standards Search by Grade and Subject
S.C.O.R.E. Standards and Framework
California Content Standards Grades K-12
California Content Standards Grades K-12 - Science - PDF Format
Students need a basic background in using the Internet.
Interpreting data, making inferences, forming hypotheses, making predictions, graphing.
Effective use of Internet resources.
Skeleton notes, skeleton worksheet (labeling bones), quiz in The Bone Zone, journal with hypotheses and comparisons of human, vole, bird bones.
Presentations -PowerPoint or Hyperstudio, student created web page, group research project
Hang a Halloween skeleton in the room to help the students learn the bones. Play a bone bee(ie: spelling bee) or around the world as the students name the bones that you point to.
Reconstruct a skeleton from the bones found in the pellet.
Extended research on the skeletal system or owls.
Discussion of the food web in connection to the owl pellets.
Peer teach the information to a younger class. (Owl pellets matches the 4th grade CA Content Standards)
Presentations -PowerPoint or Hyperstudio, student created web page.
Gander's Academy, Owl Pellets www.stemnet.nf.ca/CITE/owls.htm Offers an abundance of information on owls and a dichotomous key to identify skulls found in the pellets.
Software: CD-ROM Owl Pellets: Studying Barn Owls and Other Predators White Owl Enterprises, PO Box 806, Winona, MS 38967