Air-filled (Pneumatic) Bone Experiments

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Just like birds, some dinosaurs had air-filled (pneumatic) bones, which made the dinosaurs' skeletons lighter. In this activity, learners bake chicken or turkey bones and then rub the ends off the bones with sandpaper to expose air spaces inside. This activity would be great during Thanksgiving vacation, or any other holiday when you have bones left over from dinner.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Learning Time:
1 to 7 days

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 18

Resource Type:
Experiment/Lab Activity


Materials List ()

  • two chicken or turkey neck bones
  • cooked chicken or turkey leg bone NOT boiled
  • pot with water for boiling
  • scrub brush or pad
  • medium sandpaper
  • paper towels


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Earth's History
      • Dinosaurs
  • Life Sciences
    • Cells
    • Diversity of Life
      • Animals
    • Evolution
      • Evidence for Evolution
  • Physical Sciences
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations

Informal Categories

  • Animals
  • Food and Cooking


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Center for Technology Innovation, Lawrence Hall of Science


  • All rights reserved, Regents of the University of California, 2005