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ZingPath: Movement and Support

The Structure of Bones

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Movement and Support

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Lesson Focus

The Structure of Bones

Life Science

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Students identify the parts of a rotatable 3-D femur bone and then learn more about their functions.

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Now You Know

After completing this tutorial, you will be able to complete the following:

  • Explain that bones are organs that are part of the skeletal system.
  • Identify bone marrow, cartilage, compact bone, spongy bone, marrow cavity, and periosteum on a longitudinal diagram or model of a bone.
  • Describe the functions of bone marrow and cartilage.

Everything You'll Have Covered

In order to fully understand the structure and functions of bones and the skeletal system, it is important to know the major functions of the skeletal system as well as the various bone parts.

Bone/Skeletal System Functions:

Bone/Skeletal System Functions:

Support - The skeleton is a strong and often rigid framework that supports the body of an animal. The skeleton holds the body upright, giving it shape and strength.

Protection - The skeleton provides "cages" to protect delicate organs. For example, the ribcage helps to protect the lungs and heart, and the cranium protects the brain.

Locomotion - This is a term used to describe movement such as walking, running, or climbing. In addition to these types of movement, bones allow movement to help manipulate and carry objects.

Blood Cell Production - Blood cells are created in the bone marrow, which is a jellylike substance inside the bones. In adults, new blood cells are primarily made in the bones of the spine, ribs, and pelvis. In children, the marrow of most bones produces blood. After the blood cells develop in the marrow, they seep into the blood that passes through the bones. From there, they move into the bloodstream.

Storage - Multiple types of minerals (primarily calcium and phosphorus), which are important for the body, are stored in the bones. Fatty acids are also stored within the yellow marrow cavity of the bones.

Parts of the Bone:

Cartilage - There are multiple types of cartilage in the body, but for the purposes of this Activity Object, the cartilage being referenced is the Hyaline cartilage. This type of cartilage is a hard, translucent material that is rich in collagen and proteoglycans. It covers the ends of bones and forms the smooth surfaces of joints. Cartilage provides cushion between bones, thereby reducing shock and friction.

Periosteum - This membrane lines the outer surface of bones. It consists of irregular dense connective tissue. It contains bone-growing cells that can build the thickness of bones and can heal fractures.

Compact Bone - This hard, strong layer is under the periosteum. It makes up 80% of the skeletal system. It contains bone cells, blood vessels, and protein, calcium, and phosphorus.

Spongy Bone - Spongy bone is found toward the ends of long bones. It has many small, open spaces that make the bone lightweight.

Marrow Cavity - The marrow cavity is the central cavity of bone shafts where red bone marrow and/or yellow bone marrow are stored.

Bone Marrow -Blood cells are created in the bone marrow, which is a jellylike substance inside the bones. In adults, new blood cells are primarily made in the bones of the spine, ribs, and pelvis. In children, the marrow of most bones produces blood. After the blood cells develop in the marrow, they seep into the blood that passes through the bones. From there, they move into the bloodstream.

Within the body of an animal, there are multiple systems that work together. A few examples are: (a) the circulatory and respiratory systems work together to bring oxygen to the body cells; (b) the bones create new blood cells that are filtered into the circulatory system and pumped throughout the body; and (c) the muscular system depends on the skeletal system to move (and vice-versa).

Tutorial Details

Approximate Time 20 Minutes
Pre-requisite Concepts Body systems, structure, and function
Course Life Science
Type of Tutorial Concept Development
Key Vocabulary bone, cartilage, femur, locomotion, marrow, movement, muscle, periosteum, skeletal system, skeleton, spongy