A Bone to Pick
How did special effects artists make E.T.'s mask look so real? Chemistry! They figured out how to mix together materials to get that rubbery, crinkled look. Sounds like fun? You can make a chemical reaction in your own kitchen and make a chicken bone skeleton come to life! "But those bones are so stiff," you say. "How could I make them bend and move?" Nothing a special effects artist (you!) can't solve.
Curious for an answer? Look Behind the Scenes.
- You will need: clean chicken bones, a clear glass jar (like a mayonnaise jar), vinegar, a book about skeletons or anatomy, fishing line, scissors, and tape.
- Study the chicken bones carefully. What properties do they have that make a good skeleton for a chicken? Break a bone in half. What does it look like inside?
- Fill the glass jar about half full of vinegar. Drop in the bones and let them soak overnight. (Larger bones may take two or three nights of soaking.) How have they changed by morning? Why?
- Try breaking a bone in half. What's different? Do the bones feel heavier or lighter than before? Which kind of bones do you think would be better for a chicken?
- Look in your book about skeletons or anatomy. Study how a real skeleton fits together.
- Dry your bones with a paper towel and build a skeleton creature out of them. Tape the two ends of a short piece of fishing line, one end on each of two bones. Continue until you have put all your bones together the way you want them.
- Write a story using your new special effects skeleton. If you would like to act out your story, attach longer pieces of fishing line to the skeleton and to some sticks that you can hold above the skeleton to make it move like a marionette puppet.
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