Beacon Lesson Plan Library

The Inside Story of Muscles, Bones and Exercise

Cathy Burgess
Bay District Schools


Students learn the role of physical activity in helping muscles and bones grow strong and stay healthy.


The student understands positive health behaviors that enhance wellness.

The student knows and practices good personal health habits.


-Suggested book, [The Skeleton Inside You] Balestrino, Harper Trophy, 1989 (or any book about the skeletal system)
-CD/cassette [Nursery Days], Guthrie, Smithsonian Folkways, 1992
--Suggested CD, [Let's Hop], Colgate, Educational Activities, Inc. 1994 (any exercise or fitness songs will do)
-CD or cassette player
-Chart paper
-Pictures of muscular system and skeletal system (can be downloaded; see Weblinks)
-Body Booster cards (laminate so they can be used again)(see Associated File)
-Happy, Healthy Me science journals
-The Inside Story journal checklist (See Extentions)


1. Gather CD/cassette player, CD, chart paper, and 1 package of markers.
2. Have [The Skeleton Inside You] ready to read.
3. Duplicate Body Booster cards (1 for each group of 4) (The cards are color coded for self-checking; blue for releases energy and black for requires energy). If the teacher does not have access to a color printer, then trace over the Releases Energy card and the R in the square on the right corner of the cards with a blue marker.
4. Duplicate checklist (See Extentions).
5. Duplicate pictures of muscular and skeletal system (download from Weblinks; 1 per child.)
6. Distribute science journals.


*This is lesson seven, day 9 in the Happy, Healthy Me unit.

1. Sing: "Let's Hop" along with the cd/cassette. Remind students that exercise is good for the human body. What are some of the ways that they get exercise during the day? Have students talk about kinds of things they do when they play. Record responses on chart paper.

2. Explain to students that they have bones and muscles in their bodies. Show students the picture of the skeletal system. Tell them we need our skeletal system for many reasons; one is to hold our body up. The skeletal system protects our vital organs, such as the heart, brain, and lungs and enables us to move. Have students feel the long bones in their legs. Then have them feel the short bones in their fingers. Explain that muscles and bones work together to help them move.

3. Next show the muscular system. Explain that muscles help their body move. Students use muscles in their arms and hands when they catch a ball. Muscles also help them smile. Tell them to put their hands on their cheeks and smile. They can feel the muscles in their face move!

4. Remind students: Now that we know more about muscles, bones, and now that we learned yesterday that exercise makes muscles and bones stronger, we're going to read [The Skeleton Inside You]. Discuss the part in the book about how muscles require and release energy in order to play or move. Students' bodies require energy or get energy and they do this act by eating healthy foods and by getting the proper amount of sleep. We will go into more detail of how sleep affects the body in tomorrow’s lesson, but please remember getting enough sleep or rest is one way the body gets and stores energy. Students need at least 9 to 10 hours of sleep for their age. Their bodies release energy or get rid of energy by the way they move, play and exercise. Stress physical activity is not just sports, but also chores, yard work, games—anything that makes a person move his or her body.

5. Now students are going to play Body Boosters card game. Divide students into groups of four. Each person in the group will choose a card (one at a time). The group will perform what is written on the card and tell which muscles and bones they are using. The student who turned over the card must decide if it goes under the "Requiring Energy" or getting energy pile or the "Releasing Energy" or getting rid of energy pile. (The cards are color coded for self-checking; blue for releases energy and black for requires energy.) Students can shuffle cards and play until all they have had a chance to categorize many different cards. Walk around formatively assessing students' answers by making sure students correctly place the cards in the releasing energy pile or requiring energy pile. An example of positive feedback would be: “I like the way you acted out raking and yes it is a releasing energy activity.” An example of corrective feedback might be: “Are you sure dreaming about bike riding is releasing energy? Let’s get help from the group.”

6. Now ask students to make entries in their science journals. They are to write about their favorite physical activity or exercise and tell how they make it a habit that keeps their bodies well. (Share the checklist so they know what is expected from them.)

A. On page five of their journals, they need to write the title: My Favorite Exercise.
B. Ask students to draw and color a picture that goes with the physical activity.
C. Have students write three or four complete sentences focused on how physical activity is a good habit that keeps the body well.

Depending on the time of year, some students may need a sentence starter to get going.

Ex. My favorite exercise is ___________________________. I should do it _____ times a week.

(*I always share a completed one that I did before they start.)

7. Hand out copies of the muscular and skeletal pictures for students to keep in their portfolios.

8. Students can then take turns sitting in the author’s chair sharing their favorite physical
activity writing with the class. Make sure journals are returned to portfolios for safe keeping.


Formatively assess the students' ability to know ways that human activities require and release energy by walking around the room-observing students as they play the Body Booster card game. Feedback should be given for those who miss answers and then give them an opportunity to make corrections. See step 5 in procedures for examples.

Formatively assess the students' ability to understand positive health behaviors that enhance wellness and students' ability to know and practice good personal health habits by using the checklist on their writing of their favorite physical activities. The teacher is specifically looking for a sentence on how exercise becomes a health habit and how it keeps the body well. (See attached rubric)


1. Have students build a body map with butcher paper. Make an outline of the body. On the inside they can draw the muscles on their arms and the bones in their legs.

2. Play “Simon Says” having students move in different ways to show how they use their muscles and bones. Encourage them to talk about how they move.

3. Move the Body Boosters card game to the science center for students to play independently.

4. The Beacon Unit Plan associated with this lesson can be viewed by clicking on the link located at the top of this page or by using the following URL: Once you select the unit’s link, scroll to the bottom of the unit plan page to find the section, Associated Files. This section contains links to the Unit Plan Overview, Diagnostic and Summative Assessments, and other associated files (if any).

Web Links

Download pictures of the muscular system and the skeletal system to use in this lesson. Link contains color graphics and may take a while.
Muscular System

Download pictures of the muscular system and the skeletal system to use in this lesson. Site contains colorful grahpics and may take a while to load.
The Skeletal System

This website is to help teachers to refresh their memory of the skeletal system. Site contains colorful grahpics and may take a while to load.
The Bone Zone

This site is cute and would be fun for teachers to share information from here with students. Site contains colorful grahpics and may take a while to load.
Yucky Kids

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