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In this activity about living things and gravity (page 5 of PDF), learners design and build an exoskeleton or an endoskeleton for an animal of their own invention. Learners consider their animal's habitat and body shape when designing its support structure. This guide includes background information, extensions, and a data sheet.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Learning Time:
1 to 2 hours

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 11

Resource Types:
Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan, Model


Materials List (per group of students)

  • sealable plastic bag or plastic warp for skin or outer covering
  • 10 straws
  • clay
  • scissors
  • 15 paper clips
  • two sheets of cardstock
  • tape
  • ruler
  • copy of "From the Outside In" student sheet


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Aerospace Engineering
  • Life Sciences
    • Diversity of Life
      • Animals
    • Human Body
      • Skeleton
  • Physical Sciences
    • Motion and Forces
      • Gravity
  • The Nature of Technology
    • The Design Process
      • Invention and Innovation

Informal Categories

  • Animals
  • Model Building


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All rights reserved, Baylor College of Medicine, 2000

Funding Source:

  • NASA, NCC9-58