Handy Movement Science Experiment | Fizzics Education

Handy Movement

Follow FizzicsEd 150 Science Experiments:

You will need:

Hand template on paper or card

Scissors

Straws

Tape or Glue

String

Materials needed for the activity are displayed on a dark blue background
1 Cutting out the paper template

Cut out the hand template using scissors.

2 Bending the paper fingers at the bone joints

Bend the paper/card where the knuckles are.

3 Cut up straws next to the paper hand model

Cut up the straws to represent the lengths of the bones in your hand.

4 Cut up pieces of straw getting taped on a hand model.

Glue or tape the straws in place, making sure you don’t crush the straws. Leave one cm gaps between the straws where the knuckles are to allow the fingers to bend.

5 Equipment for threading strings through the straws getting displayed.

Tape 30cm pieces of string to the top of the fingers and thumb.

6 Strings of the hand model are stretched out all the way

Thread the string through the straws, down each finger.

7 Hand model getting displayed on a blue background

Add one straw at the wrist and thread all the strings down this straw. You can cut a slit up the straw if there isn’t enough space.

8 Paper hand model getting folded and held down by a hand

Holding the edge of the paper, gently pull on the strings from below the wrist. Your paper hand model should curl up like a real hand!

What is Happening?

The hand has many bones. The three bones in each finger and two bones in each thumb are called phalanges. The phalanges connect to the metacarpals which are the five bones in the palm of your hand. Altogether, you have 19 bones in each hand plus 8 in your wrist.

The bones of the hand provide support and flexibility to the soft tissues. They can be divided into three categories:

  • Carpal bones (Most proximal or closest to arm) – A set of eight irregularly shaped bones. These are located in the wrist area.
  • Metacarpals – There are five metacarpals, each one related to a digit
  • Phalanges (Most distal or furthest from arm) – The bones of the fingers. Each finger has three phalanges, except for the thumb, which has two.

A tendon is a fibrous connective tissue which attaches muscle to bone. Your fingers and thumbs are moved by tendons which are moved by muscles. In most other bones in your body, tendons attach muscles to bone, and then the muscles move the bone. However, your fingers are special because there are no muscles in your fingers. Instead, the muscles that control your fingers are located in your palm and forearm. The muscles move the tendons in your fingers, and it’s the tendons that make your fingers move. The tendons slide through a tendon sheath, which is connected to your finger bones. Look at both sides of your actual hand as you open and close your fingers, and you will see the tendons that are moving your fingers! In this experiment, we used straws to represent the tendon sheaths and twine to represent the tendons.

Learn more!

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