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Impact II: Projects & Lesson Plans: Discovering Math, Science, and Technology Through Skeletons
Discovering Math, Science, and Technology Through Skeletons

HOW IT WORKS
Discovering Math, Science, and Technology Through Skeletons is an interdisciplinary program that allows fifth grade students to explore math and science principles related to bones and skeletons. It provides students with extensive investigations of concrete situations, materials, and resources. It also motivates students to understand math, life, science, and technology through hands-on experiences using CD- ROMs, the Internet, owl pellets, animal bones, skulls, and human skeleton kits. These resources are needed to meet the National Science Teacher’s Association Standards (5-8); the National Council Teachers of Math Standards (5-8); and the Math, Science, and Technology Standards.

Students are introduced to the program by researching the differences between vertebrate and invertebrates – their habitats, predators, and prey. They research the role that animals play in the food web and the impact they have on their surrounding habitats. Using the www.schooldiscovery.com site, students explore concepts related to the food web, overpopulation, ecology, survival of the fittest, and endangered species. In a second activity, they research the www.owlpages.com site for the role the owl plays in the food chain. They also research the distinguishing characteristics, biology, descriptions, and life history information on all the species found in North America. Once students are familiar with the facts related to owls, they integrate the information into hands-on activities. They dissect owl pellets, removing the bones and identify them using bone-sorting charts. They weigh and measure each bone and analyze statistics based upon ratios. Once the bones have been sorted and identified, they are reassembled and glued to construction paper to form a correct anatomical skeleton. Students study the teeth (to determine the animal’s diet), the eye socket location (to determine if the animal is nocturnal), and the purpose of each bone they have classified.

 Using www.kidshealth.com, they study the bones related to the human skeleton and identify them. They also conduct science experiments and dissect real animal bones. Finally, students construct a five-foot human skeleton, identify and label the bones, learn what the skeletal system does, discover which bones are used at different times, and compare this information to the animal skeletons they assembled previously.
 

THE STUDENTS
Approximately 35 fifth grade students participate in this program, which can be adapted to any size group. Achievement level is not a qualification for successful program completion. 

THE STAFF
Joseph M. Sweeney developed and has implemented this program for the past five years. He has won the Disney Channel Award for Education, the Readers Digest American Hero in Education Award, and was the District 30 Teacher of the Year in 1992. Mr. Sweeney is also an adjunct professor of education at Adelphi University.  

WHAT YOU NEED
This program uses a variety of resources including a computer with Internet access, CD-ROMs, videos from the Discovery Channel, science books, and science kits. The Owl Integrated Activity Guide provides students with a visual guide to the owl pellets, bones, and skeletons. Helpful print resources include the lesson plans related to this program.

OVERALL VALUE
Discovering Math, Science and Technology Through Skeletons helps students understand ecological concepts, biological diversity, and basic anatomy. Students become effective learners since they use a hands-on approach to solving a mystery inside an owl pellet and explore their skeletons at the same time. 

View the Curriculum Unit/Dissemination Packet

CURRICULUM AREAS
Math
Science 
Technology

GRADES
5-6

MORE INFORMATION

Joseph Sweeney
P.S. 11Q
54-25 Skillman Avenue
Woodside, NY 11377
JosephMSweeney@msn.com

Principal
Anna Tsiatsianis

IMPACT II 
Catalog 2003-2004

 

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