Bare bones approach

20th April 2007 at 01:00
Science Ages 11 to 18

Why not turn your evening meal into a teachinglearning tool? I did, and my pupils loved it - even though my family looked dismayed when I began to arrange the bones from my chicken legs and wings after eating at home one evening.

After cleaning and bleaching the bones, I took them to school and presented them to my class for the topic of evolution. We examined the similarities in the arm and leg bones of a number of animals.

This immediately enthused the pupils to look at the shared features with the human skeleton. From this, we decided to set up an "evidence for evolution" circus. Along with the chicken bones we made sets of "bones"

from plaster of Paris of animals such as bats, chimpanzees and dogs. Each pupil prepared a commentary to help explain their evidence for evolution.

Some pupils made models of butterflies and flowers with slight differences due to regional variations. Some made plaster models to represent the changes to the bones of the lower legs of a horse over time. Other pupils prepared a PowerPoint presentation on Darwin.

We arranged the classroom to have a wildlife feel and invited other classes to view our displays and discuss our evidence. This was a superb opportunity for pupils to research and appreciate the ideas behind evolution in a more hands-on way

Stuart Bennett is head of science at The Robert Manning Technology College in Bourne, Lincolnshire

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