Monday, February 13, 2012

Biology: What are bones made of?

Over the last 2 weeks we have been investigating bones. We tested the effects of heat and acidic solutions on chicken bones. After placing bones in the oven, the kids observed that they became more brittle. On the other hand, bones soaking in vinegar lose their rigidity and become flexible. What do these two experiments demonstrate about the main components of bone? Bone is made up of collagen, a protein that gives bones flexibility, and calcium phosphate, a mineral that gives bone its strength. Heat destroys the protein, and vinegar dissolves the calcium phosphate through an acid-base reaction.

After these experiments, we reviewed the bones in the human skeleton and then did some comparative anatomy as we tried to identify various animal bones.

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