Sunday, November 20, 2011

Human Body: The Backbone (simple model)

Right now we are on break, but I thought I’d try to come up with a few review activities for when our co-op starts back up in February. One thing we kind of glossed over due to time was talking about our backbone. I came up with a very simple model of the backbone for my K-2nd grade group. My goal is for them to realize that:

1. Our spinal column has a spinal cord.
2. The spinal cord is an important part of the nervous system and needs to be protected.
3. The bones that make up our back are called vertebrate. There are different sections of vertebrate—neck, chest, and bottom.
4. The vertebrae (24 of them) stack on top of each other with discs in between. This allows us to move in many different ways and directions and still protects the spinal cord.



1 pool noodle
1 laundry line or rope
24 pony tail holders/thick rubber bands
Exacto knife


First cut the pool noodle into 24 pieces with an Exacto-knife. Next cut a piece of rope a little longer than the 24 pieces of “noodle”.


Have your students string the pieces together on the rope.  Talk about what each piece represents in the spinal column. The rope will represent the spinal cord, the pool noodle will be the vertebrae, and the pony tail holders are the discs.


Use this to show the kids how flexible our backbone can be. I have a full-size pool noodle that I will be bringing in as well. Even though it moves many directions, it is not as flexible as the vertebrae and disc model.

Check out what we have done in our anatomy unit so far:


Linking up to:

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Anonymous Stacey said...

Wow, this will make a great review for the spine. We just finished up the digestive system. Tomorrow we check how our teeth have been doing in soda pop all weekend.

November 20, 2011 at 5:22 PM  
Blogger Stef Layton said...

you are a genius !!

November 21, 2011 at 12:33 AM  
Blogger Ticia said...

That is awesome! You're making me really look forward to anatomy.

November 21, 2011 at 11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a fantastic idea! This whole series has been wonderful. I am planning to start an A&P section in the late winter with my 5 and 6 year olds. I have been pinning your ideas like mad. Thank you for sharing so generously.

Pam in Missouri


November 23, 2011 at 10:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Too Cool!

November 26, 2011 at 12:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is great. I am going to share your post as on my blog and direct my bloggers to your site. Love this. :)

December 1, 2011 at 12:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you are aware that it is not an accurate description of the spine in the sense that the spinal chord does not pass inside the vertebrae and the discs, right? ;)
I love it, and as soon as I get out of bed (sciatica) I will make this with my kids. But I'd explain about the chord.

January 21, 2012 at 2:15 AM  

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