Make a Bendable Spinal Column Model Activity

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Updated on Mar 19, 2012

The performance of a person's skeletal spine is an incredible feat! Along with the surrounding nerves and muscles, it is responsible for holding up an entire body all day long. Has your child ever thought about how his spine works, and why it bends? This assembling activity resulting in a spinal model will help him understand and be grateful for the vital functions performed by his vertebral column.

What You Need:

  • Pencil
  • 6 spools of approximately the same size
  • Small piece of thin cardboard or poster board
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Scotch tape
  • One-hole punch
  • Bendable soda straw

What You Do:

  1. Using a pencil, have your child trace around the end of the largest spool to make five circles.
  2. Have him cut out the five circles.
  3. Ask your child to punch a hole in the center of each circle.
  4. Have him thread the straw through the first spool and tape ¼” of straw length to the base of the spool.
  5. Invite your child to thread the straw through a cardboard circle.
  6. Have your child repeat steps 4 and 5 until the entire spine is strung with spools and cardboard circles.
  7. Help your child tape the end of the straw to the base of the last spool. His miniature model is finished!
  8. Invite him to hold the spool pile firmly and push it in different directions. Ask him what he notices about this spine? He should observe the spine's extreme flexibility. This is what allows us to move and stretch our back in different ways.

What's Happening?

The spools represent a model of a person's individual vertebrae (spinal bones). There are more than just six sections in a human's spine. In a real human body, they are connected with muscle, nerve tissue and disks, which serve as padding between the bones.

This composition serves to protect the central spinal column, keeping your spine bendable, yet firm. A person's spinal column is so vital that it's not an exaggeration to call it his “life column." The well-being of a spine impacts every other part of an individual's body, and even affects his quality of sleep and blood pressure.