Skeletons, Play Doh and Muscle Groups!

Last week I was in Lowes Hardware and I found a bag of little skeletons for a price that I could not pass up. For years I have wanted to use little skeletons in Anatomy class to learn the bones and the major muscle groups! Now (near Halloween) is the perfect time to find skeletons at a good price!

Having little skeletons available to learn the bones is great! They add an extra level of interest and fun, way above a flat black-and-white diagram! Students can label the bones using small pieces of masking tape. They can then take a picture of their work and turn it in using a google form or post it to a Padlet for all to see!

But the best part about these little guys is using them to learn the major muscle groups! Give your students a color coded image like this one (pictured) or this one. You can choose depending on the level of students you have. Then let them use different colors of play doh to create the muscles!

Teach major muscle groups to 
high school Anatomy and Biology students with little skeletons and play doh!

Or find a color page of the muscle groups like this one. Have students choose their own colors for each muscle group, and color them in on the page as well. This color page is blank, allowing students to label the names of each muscle group too.

When we do this activity, it usually takes longer than I expect it to. I typically give my students a good 30 to 45 minutes, especially if they are labeling and color coding the paper diagram as well as making the play doh muscles.

Use play doh to teach the major muscle groups!

The muscles do not stick super well to the skeleton, so they fall apart rather easily. This is great for clean up! But not so great if they are trying to turn them in without damage!

The best way to grade these is to either walk around and check them off as students finish, or have students take a picture of their work and post it to a padlet. Students really enjoy seeing each other’s skeleton muscle men. Plus, they can go back to the padlet at any time and use it to study! 

Teach the Major Muscle Groups using play doh and little skeletons

Play doh keeping tip! Every time your students use the play doh, add just a drop of water inside the cup and seal it tight. The water drop will diffuse through the play doh and keep it moist. Also, it helps to keep the containers inside a sealed gallon sized bag – an extra layer of protection against drying out!

Here is another fun way to use play doh in high school! Learning the parts of the flower!

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