Bendy Bones

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In this activity (on pages 19-24 of PDF), learners soak chicken bones or eggshells in vinegar for several days. Learners observe what happens to the material as the acid dissolves the calcium that provides the strength to the material. The lesson includes information about calcium, calcium-rich foods that keep bones strong, and an explanation of how the acidic vinegar solution causes the bone or eggshell to become weak.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Learning Time:
1 to 4 weeks

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per student

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per student)

  • Dish washing detergent and water
  • Plain vinegar (enough to cover half an egg shell or bone in a jar)
  • Small jars with lids (large enough to fit a bone or egg shells)
  • Paper towels
  • Option A: Chicken bones
  • Option B: Brief access to a microwave, eggshells


  • Life Sciences
    • Human Body
      • Skeleton
      • Health and Nutrition
  • Physical Sciences
    • Chemistry
      • Chemical Reactions
      • Acids and Bases
      • Chemistry of Life

Informal Categories

  • Food and Cooking


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



Funding Source:

  • Regence Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Oregon