K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education

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Related pages

  • Exploring the five senses: This lesson will help students describe how objects look, feel, taste, smell, and sound using all senses.
  • Five days, five senses: In this lesson, students will learn about the five senses through observations and hands-on activities.
  • How does an animal's environment affect the frequency of its sound?: In this lesson, students will explore the relationship between frequency and pitch. In addition to conducting a simple experiment, they will also examine bat and elephant sound spectrograms. Students will learn how both animals and humans use their environments to create sound for communication.

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Learning outcomes

As a response to a book by Ezra Jack Keats, students will experience the difficulty of identifying common sounds while using only their sense of hearing.

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

40 minutes


  • Senses poster (commercial or teacher generated)
  • My Five Senses by Aliki
  • Apt. 3 by Ezra Jack Keats
  • Lap stage or box with materials for making sounds such as keys, scissors, paper, pencil, coins in a can, water in a bottle, tin foil and a bell.
  • Harmonica

Technology resources

Computer with internet access if use of websites is desired.

BrainPop is a subscription based website, so it may be necessary to register ahead of time if using its movies.


Students have been learning about the five senses in their classroom.


  1. Use poster to review senses.
  2. Read My Five Senses by Aliki. Invite students to participate in the reading.
  3. Ask: what do you call it when someone can’t see? What other senses does a blind person use to learn about the world around him?
  4. Introduce the story Apt. 3 by Ezra Jack Keats. Words to know: apartment building and harmonica. Show students the harmonica and play it (not necessarily a tune) so students can hear the sound it makes.
  5. Read the story. Pause throughout the story to ask students which senses the boys and the man are using to figure out what is happening around them.
  6. After the story ask: how did the blind man know there were two boys? How did he know who they were?
  7. Group Activity: tell the students that they are going to pretend they are blind. Ask: what will you have to do to pretend that you are blind? Place the lap stage or box in your lap. Tell them you are going to make some sounds in the box. Ask: which sense will you be using? Give directions: students close eyes and keep closed until you say “Open.” You will make a sound and students should raise their hands when they know what it is that is making that sound. When many hands are raised, say “Open your eyes” and call on a student to name the sound. Repeat procedure with another sound, and so on.
  8. Wrap-up: review activity. Ask: how did you feel when you couldn’t use your sense of sight and see what was making the noise? Was it hard to figure out each sound?


Observation of student participation in the lesson and activity.

Supplemental information


I usually use this lesson as part of a unit on Ezra Jack Keats, but it also works well as a lesson just on senses. As part of the Keats unit, we review characteristics of Keats’ books and notice the differences in the artwork in this book compared to that in the titles we have previously read.

  • North Carolina Essential Standards
    • Science (2010)
      • Kindergarten

        • K.P.2 Understand how objects are described based on their physical properties and how they are used. K.P.2.1 Classify objects by observable physical properties (including size, color, shape, texture, weight and flexibility). K.P.2.2 Compare the observable...

North Carolina curriculum alignment

Science (2005)


  • Goal 3: The learner will make observations and build an understanding of the properties of common objects.
    • Objective 3.03: Describe how objects look, feel, smell, taste, and sound using their own senses.