Anatomy of an Anatomy Lesson

If you don't have a miniature human skeleton in your house, stop what you're doing right now and get one. I can't tell you what a difference it makes having an actual skeleton as opposed to simply looking at a picture.

So...you get the skeleton, and now what?

You might want to start by singing "Dem Bones," the well-known spiritual song. Here's a cheesy, though more educational, variation I love:

Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones.

Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones.

Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones.

These are the bones in your body.

Phalanges connected to your metacarpals.

Metacarpals connected to your carpals.

Carpals connected to your radius.

These are the bones in your body...

What next? Bone games. Kids find them hilarious. In Simon Says fashion, say "Put your phalanges on your clavicle! Put your phalanges on your patellas!" And before you know it -- BOOM -- your kid has all the bone names completely memorized with hardly any effort.

To my surprise, just having the skeleton on our dining room table was inspiring. When I passed by, I found my son involved in drawing the skeleton in detail by hand.

I quickly typed up the names of the bones, and he glued them onto the correct places. I think today we may try our hand at taking some easel paper and drawing around my son's body, then drawing the bones inside.