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What are Skeletons?

In this worksheet, students will be looking at the sorts of animals that have skeletons and what they are for.

'What are Skeletons?' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 2

Curriculum topic:   Animals, including Humans

Curriculum subtopic:   Skeletons and Muscles

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

So, what IS a skeleton and what sort of animals have skeletons?

 

Well, first off, you're a human being and you have a skeleton.  The skeleton is your body's framework that supports and protects you. Without your skeleton you would be a rather unattractive heap of mess on the floor!  Believe it or not, bones are harder than concrete and longer lasting. They have to be tough and strong because they carry the weight of your body.

 

These pictures show the main bones of your skeleton. How many do you think there are?

Human skeleton

Did you know an adult human has 206 bones?  That's a lot of bones!

 

So, let's have a look at what bones and skeletons are all about.

What material do you think your skeleton is made of?

bone

muscle

cartilage

ligaments

What is your skeleton for?

 

Two TWO answers.

helping you live longer

helping to support your body

helping to protect your organs

helping your blood flow properly

Where do you think the smallest bone in the body is?

in your fingers

in your toes

in your nose

in your ear

So, now where do you think the longest bone in your body might be?

 

Take an educated guess.

in your arm

in your back

in your hip

in your leg

What do you think might be special about the bones of many birds?

they have more bones than mammals

some of their bones are hollow

they have fewer bones than many mammals

Here is a picture of the skeletons of three different animals:

 

Aninmal skeletons

 

What do we call the group of organisms that have skeletons like this?

molluscs

vertebrates

arthropods

crustaceans

Here's the main bone from a deer's head:

 

deer skull

 

What is this part of the skeleton called?

head

vertebra

skull

brain box

Think back to Q7 and the bone you named.

 

What is the name of the organ that that bone is protecting for the deer?

brain

heart

nerves

eyes

What sort of bones are these?

 

Ribs

backbone

collar bone

ribs

Remember the bones you named in Q9?

 

What do you think those bones are protecting?

 

Tick TWO answers.

heart

brain

muscles

bladder

lungs

  • Question 1

What material do you think your skeleton is made of?

CORRECT ANSWER
bone
EDDIE SAYS
Bet you got that one right! Bones are the living organs that make up the skeleton of your, and many other, vertebrates' bodies. They grow while you're young, getting longer and thicker. The ligaments and muscles are attached to your bones. Cartilage is a softer substance that is often found between bones, in your joints, and also your nose is made of cartilage.
  • Question 2

What is your skeleton for?

 

Two TWO answers.

CORRECT ANSWER
helping to support your body
helping to protect your organs
EDDIE SAYS
The job of a skeleton is twofold: protecting your soft organs, like heart and lungs, and also giving your body the shape and support it needs. Because most vertebrates live on land, they need strong bony skeletons, whereas fish get extra support from living in water, so their skeletons don't have to be as strong.
  • Question 3

Where do you think the smallest bone in the body is?

CORRECT ANSWER
in your ear
EDDIE SAYS
Would you believe it, in fact the smallest bone in the body is found inside your ear! It is called the stirrup (or stapes) and it is involved with hearing and it's just 2.5 to 3.5 millimetres long! There are three tiny bones inside your ear, behind the ear drum, and they are all to do with magnifying the sounds you hear. They have funny-sounding names: the hammer (malleus), than anvil (incus) and, as we've seen, the stirrup (stapes).
  • Question 4

So, now where do you think the longest bone in your body might be?

 

Take an educated guess.

CORRECT ANSWER
in your leg
EDDIE SAYS
You might think it's in your back, but in fact your spine is made up of 33 smaller bones (called VERTEBRAE - have a think about that!) which have joints between them, so that your spine is flexible. If your spine was one long bone, how do you think that would affect you? Your thigh bone, known properly as your FEMUR, is the longest bone in your body. See if you can look up how long a typical human femur is and whether it's different in men and women.
  • Question 5

What do you think might be special about the bones of many birds?

CORRECT ANSWER
some of their bones are hollow
EDDIE SAYS
Most birds have the ability to fly and flying on the air is a difficult thing. Our planes are made of a light metal called aluminium - if they were made of steel, they'd simply be too heavy to get off the ground. For that reason, bird bones are often hollow, with a tiny network of bone filaments inside them (a bit like an electricity pylon, or the Eiffel Tower). That means that the bones are light, but very strong, enabling them to get into the air and do their amazing aerobatics, like swallows and swifts.
  • Question 6

Here is a picture of the skeletons of three different animals:

 

Aninmal skeletons

 

What do we call the group of organisms that have skeletons like this?

CORRECT ANSWER
vertebrates
EDDIE SAYS
You probably knew that one! Did you remember that your spine is made of bones called vertebrae? That's where the term VERTEBRATE comes from for 'backboned animals'. You probably know that there are five main vertebrate groups: fish, reptiles, birds, amphibians and mammals. All the others in the list are invertebrates - if you don't know what some are (like arthropods) go and find out - look it up!
  • Question 7

Here's the main bone from a deer's head:

 

deer skull

 

What is this part of the skeleton called?

CORRECT ANSWER
skull
EDDIE SAYS
Fairly straightforward? Brain box is a dumbed-down term for the bone around the brain which, of course, is the SKULL. It's a mega-important bone as the brain is the organ that basically controls what the deer is up to, what it's sensing, how it reacts and how it's body is operating. It's a whole lot more complicated than a computer with a lot more terabytes of memory!
  • Question 8

Think back to Q7 and the bone you named.

 

What is the name of the organ that that bone is protecting for the deer?

CORRECT ANSWER
brain
EDDIE SAYS
OK, so the brain is surrounded by the skull because the brain is so, so important to the deer staying alive and operating as a deer. If you answered nerves, whilst the brain is made up of lots of things like nerves, they are not organs in themselves. The deer's eyes are organs, and whilst there is some protection from the skull, much of them is exposed - because they have to be. Otherwise, the deer could not see!
  • Question 9

What sort of bones are these?

 

Ribs

CORRECT ANSWER
ribs
EDDIE SAYS
That is called a rib cage and when you look at it you can see why it's called a 'cage'. That's because it's protecting lots of soft organs inside, but it can't be rigid, like your skull, because not only would it be too heavy, but it would be too rigid and you'd find moving much more difficult.
  • Question 10

Remember the bones you named in Q9?

 

What do you think those bones are protecting?

 

Tick TWO answers.

CORRECT ANSWER
heart
lungs
EDDIE SAYS
The rib cage is brilliant at protecting a whole load of organs for mammals like you and me. The heart is about in the middle, along with the lungs, Then there's the liver and the stomach. The kidneys get some protection too.
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