Muscles: Making Us Go!

The muscular system is one of the systems of the human body. Our muscles move our bodies, but they also pump our blood and digest our food!

There are two videos to choose from to learn about muscles.

The first one is better for younger kids, the second one will appeal to older kids. Feel free to watch one, or both!

You may see a number of other videos that are a deeper dive into things you might be interested in. Feel free to watch as many of those as you like. Then choose some activities and/or a project.

High school students or any student who wants to dig deeper, continue your study with one of the advanced learning projects in the Projects section. Be sure to scroll to the bottom of the page to test your understanding by taking the quiz.

Take A Deeper Dive!

Discover the surprising reason why our muscles get tired.

What makes muscles grow? Choose one video or both to learn about how muscles grow.

Learn more about how muscle tissue and cells work.

Check out this PBS Science Trek episode on muscles.

PBS Science Trek – Muscles

Magic School Bus Flexes Its Muscles (in described video).

Activities

Make a Moving Hand Model

Learn about how muscles work together with bones to allow us to move our bodies. 

For this activity, you will need the following:

  • Thick paper (any colour)
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Double-sided tape (or regular tape or glue)
  • Straws (4)
  • String or thread

Follow the instructions in the video to make a model of how our hands move!

Save your project to your portfolio.

Make a Model of a Skeletal Muscle

To make a model of a skeletal muscle, you will need the following:

  • A box of straws
  • Coloured tape (electrical tape or washi, 3 colours)

Watch the video on the structure of skeletal muscles, then watch the video on modeling the skeletal muscle with straws. Now, build your own model!

Save this project to your portfolio.

Make a Model of an Arm Muscle

To make your own model of an arm muscle, you will need the following: 

  • Net (like those plastic mesh fruit bags)
  • Plastic bag
  • Popsicle sticks (the wider ones are better)
  • Rivet or brad
  • Straw
  • Paper hand shape
  • Scissors
  • Tape

Follow along with the video to make your own model of an arm muscle. 

Save a picture or video of your project to your portfolio.

Project

Moving Muscles Poster

Create a poster of different actions and the muscles that they use.

Start by holding your arm out directly in front of you with your palm facing up. Touch your arm above your elbow with your opposite hand. Now, bend your arm upwards. Can you feel the muscle moving? Which muscle helps you make this motion?

Now, think about different activities like kicking or throwing a ball, running, or jumping. Try them slowly (maybe with a partner!) and feel which muscles are moving.

Create a poster with drawings of each of the activities (or download pictures) and list some of the muscles you use to do those actions. You can use this diagram to reference the major muscles.

Save this poster to your portfolio.

Advanced Projects

Choose at least one.

Trigger Warning: The second Advanced Project involves dissecting a chicken wing which some people may wish to avoid.

What Happens to Muscles in Space?

In this activity, you will perform a repeated clothespin exercise to observe how the body reacts to physical stress.

You will need a clothespin, a timer, and a partner to help you gather your data. 

Print out pages 8 and 9 from this PDF (from the NASA STEMonstration on Exercise). 

Watch the NASA video on exercise in space. Then follow the instructions on page 8 of the activity. Think about the questions posed in the left margin.

After you have recorded your data for two weeks, analyze your results. You can even graph your results to see the trend over time. 

Include your results in your portfolio.

Dissect a Chicken Wing

For this lab, you will dissect a chicken wing to understand the structures that make it move. You will need the following:

  • Uncooked chicken wing from a whole chicken
  • Scissors
  • Tray or large plate
  • Gloves

Follow along with the video dissection. Be sure to not touch anything else when you have been handling the raw chicken wing. Throw out your gloves and wash your tools and hands with hot, soapy water when you are finished.

Record what you learned about the structures of a chicken wing in your science notebook. Include a diagram of your dissection.

Save this to your portfolio.

Books

Click on a book to buy it from Amazon. Or, you can ask for them at your local library.

Read Aloud Book(s)

NOw Let’s Have some fun!