Bending Bones Experiment

Don’t throw away all your turkey bones after dinner! Save a few to try this cool bending bones experiment. (It also works with chicken bones for anytime of year.) Gather a couple of pint jars (with lids), and some vinegar.

An experiment with vinegar and a turkey bone.

  1. First, wash the bones off until they are clean of all the meat. Let the kids try to bend them (or break them) and note how strong they are.
  2. Put a bone in each jar. Cover one bone up with water and the other bone with vinegar. Make sure to label the jars so you keep track of which is which. Now you just let it sit for at least a week.
  3. Carefully remove the bones and rinse them off with water. Let the kids try to bend them again and watch what happens!

The bones will bend. The vinegar reacts with the calcium carbonate in the bones, resulting in tiny bubbles that rise to the surface. These bubbles are the carbon leaving the bone. Essentially, the calcium from the bones is being taken out. Calcium gives bones strength, and without it, the bones can be bent right in half.

Now that you’ve seen what will happen if your bones become calcium deficient, go drink a glass of milk!!

More From Layers of Learning

This experiment is also part of Layers of Learning Unit 2-7, a whole curriculum of awesomeness.

Layers of Learning Unit 2-7

Extract DNA from peas with this simple experiment.
Extract DNA from peas with this simple experiment.

Learn about the chemistry of blood and complete a blood clotting worksheet.
Learn about the chemistry of blood and complete a blood clotting worksheet.





  1. What a great opportunity to teach our children about good nutrition and bone health. Unfortunately the last statement is dangerously misleading since casein (cows milk protien) and the high levels of satruated fats in cows milk create and acidic environment in our bodies that act much like the vinegar in the experiment. This is why we in the US have the highest rate of bone loss all while we consume the most dairy products in the world. Spinach and Brocoli have 5 times as much calcium (as well as tens of thousands of other micronutrients)without the cow hormones, and fats that are killing and crippling our nation.

  2. I appreciate your opinion, but really I disagree that there is anything dangerous about drinking milk. It is ludricous to think that cow's milk leaches strength from your bones.

    As far as diet goes the best strategy is moderation in types and quantities of food and a little common sense. It doesn't hurt avoid listening too closely to the "experts" from whatever point of view.

    I've read much on diet from many different view points and beliefs and time and again I come to the conclusion that all these experts have their own agendas and preconcieved notions of what they want to find–which is usually a "revolutionary" new look at diet. Common sense is still the best guide.

    As for broccoli and spinach, sure they're good for you, but there's no way I could eat them in sufficient quantities to supply my bodies calcium needs. Milk has a myriad of micronutrients and minerals as well . . . milk by its very nature is a completely whole food.

  3. Pingback: Turkey Unit Study Resources - The Homeschool Scientist

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