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Exploring our arms

Background

Human beings are unique in the animal kingdom, having learnt to use their arms and specially their fingers so flexibly. Most of us have two arms and we use it for a variety of purposes. We can do very delicate things, like writing, embroidery or fine sculpture. We can also do things requiring strength or force like lifting weights, hitting a ball, gripping a rope while climbing. Exploring how different parts of the arm work together can be fun and informative.

Aim

Identify the parts of the arm and their functions.

Recognise that people's arms differ in their size and ability.

Explore the joints in the arm.

Activities

How big is your hand? Place your hand, palm downward, on a piece of paper. Draw around it to obtain an outline.
i) How long is each finger?
ii) Is finger No.2 [middle finger] always the longest? Compare the results of your classmates.
iii) Does anyone have two fingers of the same length?

How much can your hand pick?
i) How many marbles can your right hand pick?
ii) How many marbles can your left hand pick?
iii) Are they the same? [Compare the results with others]
iv) Who can pick the most ?
v) Who can pick the least?

How strong is your grip? [Use a jungle gym, climbing frame or some such suitable construction] But children should be made to see the unfairness of this test, as the lightest boy is the one who can stay hanging the longest.
i) How long can you hang from the jungle gym - with both hands, with your left hand, with your right hand?

How strong is your grip? [Choose a plastic bottle (squeeze bottle)]
i) Who has the strongest; right grip left grip
ii) Who has the weakest right grip; left grip?

How long can you hold up a stool?
i) With your right hand
ii) with your left hand [choose a conveniently heavy stool]

How strong is each of your fingers. [A spring balance (20 kg type) is best suited but any other spring balance will do]
i) How much weight can you lift with each of your fingers? With your thumb? With your four fingers - other than your thumb?
Which are the movable parts in your arms? How do they move? 

Related Questions

Compare your arms with the forelimbs of other animals. How are they different? Compare your arms with the wings of birds. How are they different? Some people do not have or have lost a part of the arm. How do they manage?

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