Activity 4B: Determination of Bone Density with Bone Specimens

The objective of this activity is to allow students the opportunity to calculate the density of sectioned bone specimens. (These long bones are obtained and cut into cross sections in advance of the lab. Make sure you read through the procedures for preparing these specimens.) Students will investigate how the density varies at the ends of long bone and the mid-section of the shaft. Working with one bone specimen, each lab group should conclude that there is a pattern with the bone density calculations. The density at the ends of the long bone specimen where there is spongy bone should be less than the density anywhere along the shaft where the compact bone is present. After comparing class data, the students should conclude that there is a similar pattern in bone density calculation among all the same types of bone specimens.


Density formula, observation, density, graphing, volume, mass, bone, specimen preparation, trabecular bone, cancellous bone, calculation, mean, median


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Activity Code: 
Unit Reference: 
Give Your Bones A Break
Lesson Reference: 
Lesson 4: Bone Density