Thursday, 31 March 2011

Boning up on Bones

As you might be able to tell from the books in our Library Thing sidebar, we are learnig about bones at the moment. It all started with this rather excellent book.

It says it's aimed at 5-9 year olds, but Gman (11) has equally enjoyed doing the experiments and singing the bone song. Sample verse (to the tune of "She'll be Coming Round the Mountain":

Yes, my bones need calcium phosphate so they'll grow (uh, huh)
Yes, my bones need calcium phosphate so they'll grow
Yes, my bones need calcium phosphate
Or they'd never ca-ci-fi-cate
Rubber bones are not that great a fate (oh, no)!

This has inspired us to find out more about bones, and do further experiments. We downloaded the "Bones: An Exhibit Inside You" from the Children's Museum in Indianopolis and that had loads more ideas in too. One of the experiments was to make a model of a bone from the inside out, involving a straw (for the hollow centre), playdough with rice crispies in (spongy bone), snips of red and blue embroidery thread (for veins) and more dough for the outside (compact bone). The boys then cut a cross section of the "bone" and painted and labelled the different layers.

making bones
painting cross section of bones
Science was never this fun when I was at school!! Because we are a gluten free household and we didn't have any commercial playdough, we made our own, using the recipe below:


3/4 cup cornflour
3/4 cup salt
3/4 cup rice flour
3tsps cream of tartar
2tsp vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups water
few drops food colouring

Put all the ingredients except the food colouring into a pan and cook until thickened, stirring continuously. Let cool, then add the food colouring and knead in until the colour is evenly distributed and dough is no longer sticky.

playdough ingredients

stirring 1

stirring 2

If you are making this, I would recommend gloves for the dyeing bit, or you could end up with blue hands :-)

blue hands

The boys are making lapbooks of their bone studies so watch this space for more bony fun!

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