Bones & Skull

  • 2-5 grade

Lesson Description:

In this lesson, the students will learn why we have bones and how to maintain healthy bones. The students will create a 3D model of a skull using a 3D printer. 


Standards Covered


Recognize a line of symmetry for a two-dimensional figure as a line across the figure such that the figure can be folded along the line into matching parts. Identify line-symmetric figures and draw lines of symmetry.

NGSS 4-LS1-1

Construct an argument that plants and animals have internal and external structures that function to support survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction.

NGSS Crosscutting 3

Scale, proportion, and quantity. In considering phenomena, it is critical to recognize what is relevant at different measures of size, time, and energy and to recognize how changes in scale, proportion, or quantity affect a system’s structure or performance.

NGSS Crosscutting 6

Structure and function. The way in which an object or living thing is shaped and its substructure determine many of its properties and functions.

NGSS Practice 1

Asking questions and defining problems

NGSS Practice 2

Developing and using models

NGSS Practice 6

Constructing explanations and designing solutions

NGSS Practice 8

Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information

image description

Lesson Modules

Teaching Tips:

This lesson was created to work with two different options. The concepts taught are the same for all three options, it just depends on the amount of technology you have available. As you read the lesson make sure you are looking at the content based on the option you will be taking.

Option 1: Teacher has a computer, and student computers  (individual or 1 per small group).

Option 2: Teacher has a computer, students have computers (either individual or 1 per small group), and a 3D printer.

As a teacher you know your students’ well, so feel free to adjust the lesson to better fit your classroom, environment, goals, students, etc.

Option 1: Teacher has a computer, and student computers.


  • teacher computer
  • student computers (individual or 1 per small group)



  • none

Option 2: Teacher has a computer, students have computers (either individual or 1 per small group), and a 3D printer.

This is a 2 day project as 3D printing takes time. Since students will be completing their design at different times - make sure to start printing as soon as you can to speed up the process.


  • teacher computer
  • student computers (either individual or 1 per small group)
  • 3D printer


  • ball (basketball, soccer ball) 1 per 4 students/groups
  • at least 1 filled water balloon but the more the better (ideal to have 1 filled water balloon per student/group)
  • Tape (at least 3 inches of tape for every skull that will be printed)
  • Access to water (filled water bottle or faucet)
  • filament
  • worksheets: Activity #3 worksheet and Activity #4 worksheet for each group or individual student.


  • fill water balloon(s)
  • create a testing area
    • away from breakable things (computers, 3D printer, etc.). Students will be dropping clay on the ground, and using a ball to hit clay on the ground.
    • in a place where clay will not ruin the flooring (ex:carpet). You can also place a piece of paper in the testing area for them to place their clay as they test.


Teaching Tips:

Ask students to touch their hand and feel the bones. 

Have them answer the question.

On the class view, share students' response to the class and show the picture. If you don't see the picture, scroll down the browser. 

By touching your hand, how many bones do you think there are in one hand? Type your answer only with ONE word.

Teaching Tips:

  1. Show the Class View to the class
  2. Explain four functions of our bones
  3. Discuss how to take care of our bodies

Check each calcium rich food you enjoy.
  • milk
  • cheese
  • yogurt
  • kale
  • bok choy
  • almonds
  • sardines
  • salmon
  • tofu
  • chia seeds

What are your favorite ways to stay active? (ex: play-sports, swim, dance, etc.) Type your answer only with ONE word.

Teaching Tips:

For classes WITH 3D printers:

Help the students to open the 3D printer software that your institute is using. To learn more about how to use the 3D printer, contact the manufacturing company.

1) Find a place for students to complete their experiments. Since they will be using a ball you want them away from the computers and 3D printer. Additionally, since they will be dropping the ball on the clay - they will need to complete this activity in a place where they will not tarnish the flooring (ex: carpet). You can place a piece of paper on the floor in the testing area for them to place their clay for that experiment.

2) The students will go through the learning path at their own speeds. The creating, last steps, and testing information are all on their computers in the learning path module. Make sure they are following the order of the learning path.

For classes WITHOUT 3D printers: The students will not move forward after designing their skull. Please provide them with information about ways that can print their project. Various companies will print projects that are sent to them.

Activity #1: Design your Skull.

Design your skull on the 3D print software. Follow your teacher's instruction. 



Activity #2: Last Steps: Once your skull has been 3D printed, follow these last few steps.

Step 1: Add a small ball of clay to the inside of your skull.

Step 2: Inside the skull is “Crebrospinal fluid (CSF), clear, colourless liquid that fills and surrounds the brain and the spinal cord and provides a mechanical barrier against shock. *   

Add water to the inside of your skull.


Step 3: Your head is connected to your neck which closes the bottom hole of your skull. 

Tape the hole in your skull.











Activity #3: Testing

Directions: Using your two clay brains (one inside your 3D printed skull, the other without a skull) test them to see how the skull protects the brain. Take notes on what you observe during your experiments.

Test: Drop both brains on the floor.

question 1

question 2

Hit: Hit both brains with a ball

Question 3

Question 4







Activity #4: Make your own test.

Create your own test and record your observations.

question 5

question 6

question 7

question 8

question 9

question 10

Teaching Tips:

For classes with NO 3D printer:

This is the end of the lesson.


For classes WITH a 3D printer:

This is the end activity for day 1. 

Here is the order of modules for tomorrow:

What can you do to keep your bones strong and healthy? Type your answer in a sentence.

What was the most difficult part of designing your skull? Explain why that was difficult.

Teaching Tips:

 Make sure after you show the students how to access the questions you show the learning path on the class view so that students can see where in the process they are.

What did you accomplish yesterday?

What is your first step for today?


Teaching Tips:

This is only for students who 3D printed their skull.

Reflection Questions:

  1. Which brain was safer: the one inside the skull or the one without a skull? Explain why.
  2. What was the most interesting thing you learned about your bones?

At the end of the lesson, students will be reflecting on their learning. Here are some options for their reflections.


  1. Have the students respond to the reflection questions on their computers.
  2. Show the results.
  3. Have a discussion around their responses.


  1. Have students do a think in their heads, talk with a pair/small group, whole class discussion (think, pair, share)

Which brain was safer: the one inside the skull or the one without a skull? Explain why.

What was the most interesting thing you learned about your bones?