Learning objects Superhuman


Experiment with the structure of human arms and legs. Replace the arms and legs with body parts such as owl wings or dolphin flippers. Look at the skeletal structure of the new animals. Describe the functional effects of replacing the limbs. Explain how the structure of an animal's body is related to its function and environment. Print a worksheet of your customised design for a 'superhuman'.

Educational details

Key learning objectives
  • Students relate skeletal structures in mammals and birds to their functions.
  • Students predict the functional effects of changes to skeletal systems.
Educational value
  • Explains how the structure of an animal's limbs is adapted to the animal's environment.
  • Shows the skeletons of a number of vertebrates – fruit bat, owl, koala, kangaroo, dolphin and emu.
  • Enables students to replace the arms or legs of a human character with other vertebrate limbs, such as owl wings or dolphin flippers, to create a superhuman.
  • Requires students to predict the abilities and behaviours of the superhuman they created.
  • Shows what the human skeleton would look like with arms or legs replaced by the limbs of other vertebrates.
  • Enables students to print out an image of their superhuman with the prediction about its abilities and behaviours.
  • Asks the student to consider what else might need to be changed to make their predictions possible.
  • Provides a glossary that can be printed out.
  • Challenges students to design their own superhuman.
Year level


Learning area
  • science
  • Science/Science understanding
    • Science/Animals
    • Science/Function
    • Science/Evolution
    • Science/Human body
    • Science/Structure
    • Analysis;
    • Application;
    • Comprehension;
    • Knowledge;
    • Synthesis
    Student activity
    • Interactives;
    • Analysis;
    • Modelling
    Learning design
    • Experiential learning;
    • Independent learning;
    • Problem solving;
    • Visual learning

    Other details

    • Subject matter expert
    • Organisation: Department of Education, Tasmania; e-magine Centre of Excellence in Online Learning
    • Address: Hobart TAS 7000 Australia
    • URL: http://www.education.tas.gov.au/
    • Technical implementer
    • Publisher
    • Date of contribution: 28 Jan 2014
    • Organisation: Education Services Australia
    • Address: Melbourne VIC 3000 Australia
    • URL: http://www.esa.edu.au
    Access profile
    • Generic
    Learning resource type
    • Interactive Resource
    • Microsoft Internet Explorer - minimum version: 8.0 (MS-Windows) - maximum version: 9.0 (MS-Windows)
    • Firefox - minimum version: (MS-Windows)
    • Safari - minimum version: 5.1 (MacOS)
    Operating systems
    • MacOS - minimum version: 10.6
    • MS-Windows - minimum version: XP - maximum version: 7
    • © Education Services Australia Ltd, 2013, except where indicated under Acknowledgements.