Classroom Display Ideas for Bones

Written by sylvia cini
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Classroom Display Ideas for Bones
Bring the museum experience into your classroom. (dinosaur scull image by Daria Miroshnikova from

Hands-on science lessons and interactive displays and models help students absorb complex concepts and make connections between the information in a book and the world around them. The structure and function of the skeletal system is difficult to grasp, for example, without a bone display. It is crucial to provide students with a classroom display for bones that is not only interesting, but accurately detailed for their grade level.

Real Bones

Nothing will get your students excited like seeing real bones. The natural imperfections and quality cannot be replicated. Animal skeletons are available for purchase online and through science magazines. You can even purchase human bones for educational purposes. Be sure to follow all directions for cleaning and preserving your bone collection, because bones will decay more rapidly if mishandled.

Classroom Display Ideas for Bones
Cow skeletons are an inexpensive option for a large display. (skull image by JASON WINTER from

Casts of Bones

Bone casts are professionally made re-creations of real bones. They are constructed from durable materials such as resin, epoxy and plaster. Like real bones, they have an incredible amount of detail, but they are inherently less valuable. Their durability makes them desirable educational displays.

Sculpted and Molded Bone Displays

Similar to casts, sculptures and moulds are more durable than real bones. They are created by moulding plastic or carving materials like wood into the appropriate shapes. The white skeletons commonly seen in science classrooms in the movies are made in this way. Many Halloween costumes will also contain moulded bones. Because they are mass produced, these displays are inexpensive. Some teachers may be dissatisfied with the level of detail.

Classroom Display Ideas for Bones
You may be able to borrow a moulded skeleton from the theatre classroom. (skeleton image by Sorbotrol from

Paper Mache Bones

If you need a large, impressive bone display, paper mache is the medium for you. Use a paper mache paste (one part water to two parts glue) to adhere strips of thin paper to a poster tube. Use wadded up newspaper and masking tape to help build up the ends of the structure. You can add multiple poster tubes to the core to built thick bones, or attach them end to end to make long bones. Paint with latex paint and seal with an acrylic spray. The resulting bones will be light and durable. Teachers will find them appropriate for a lesson on dinosaurs with younger children.

Classroom Display Ideas for Bones
Use dirt and atmospheric display boxes to make the bone look ancient. (mammoth bone image by Vladislav Gajic from

Posters and Pinups

Use posters to reinforce lessons. Hang a labelled skeleton diagram to help students learn the parts of the body, and display images of animals that have similar skeletal structures. Don't throw away those science projects: Put your students front and centre by using their own creations to decorate your classroom.

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