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

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  • Five days, five senses: In this lesson, students will learn about the five senses through observations and hands-on activities.
  • Fun with fruits and vegetables: The activities will help the student identify, describe, and classify fruits and vegetables and learn how each grows.
  • Sensing the world around us: Students will review the five senses and listen to an Ezra Jack Keats' story in which a blind man uses his senses of hearing and smelling to learn about his neighbors. Students will then experience the difficulty of using only one sense to identify different sounds.

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Learning outcomes

Students will describe how objects look, feel, smell, taste, and sound using all the senses.

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

2.5 hours

Materials/resources

  • various pictures
  • cards with different textures (cotton, sandpaper, ridged, silk, etc.)
  • various Foods (M&Ms, salted peanuts, sour gummy bears, fruits)
  • earphones
  • speakers
  • class graph
  • Braille resources
  • computers with internet access
  • graphics painting program or crayons and paper

Pre-activities

Students will need to know how to compare likes and differences.

Activities

The teacher will introduce the five senses to students and point to each body part that uses that sense. Activities for each sense should take about thirty minutes.

  1. The teacher will start with the sense of sight by telling the class to close their eyes with no peeking. The teacher will hold a picture in front of the class for a few seconds then put it down and ask the class to open their eyes. Ask them what you did and listen to their responses. Show the students the picture that you showed them when their eyes were closed and ask them to describe the picture. Explain the term blind and how life would be without sight. Ask one of the students to come to the board. Blindfold them, and then ask them to draw a picture of a person. Take the blindfold off and talk with the class about what happened. Ask students how the blind read. Introduce them to Braille and let them touch it to see how it feels.
  2. Next is the sense of hearing. Ask a student to come to the front of the class and put on a set of earphones that are not plugged in so that students can see how life is without sound. While the student is wearing earphones, the teacher will play recordings of animal sounds. (These can be found in many places on the web, including Seaworld’s Animal Sounds Library.) Turn the volume down low enough for the class to hear, but not the student with the earphones. After each sound, take the earphones off of the student and ask him/her what was heard. When they respond nothing or they could not tell, ask the class to tell what they heard. The teacher can go around the room to call on others to come up and try so that they get to participate. After this activity, talk with students about people who have hearing problems or who are deaf. Explain to them that some hearing problems can be helped by hearing aids, while others cannot. Ask students how people with hearing loss can communicate. Talk with them about sign language and even teach them how to sign a few words. Make a class chart of things they hear during school.
  3. For the sense of taste, give students a taste test. Put a few M&Ms, salted peanuts, and sour gummy bears on a plate. Start the taste test together and allow students to describe the taste and feel of the food on their tongue. Tell them about taste buds by drawing a picture on the board and show them where each one is located. Make a class graph of their favorite tastes.
  4. Next is the sense of smell. The teacher will have containers filled with different foods, and have children match the smell with the correct picture. Oranges and peppermint are two that work well. The class will discuss how important smell is to our daily activities. Make a class chart of things they like to smell, such as flowers or mom’s cooking.
  5. Last is the sense of touch. The teacher will use the “feel” box to have students identify objects by feeling. Make sure there are enough items in the box for each child to have a turn! After this activity, get the feel cards and turn them over on the floor. This is a matching game where a child comes to the front and is blindfolded. They must feel the bottom to the cards to try and match the two with the same texture. Once they have found the two, take off the blindfold and let the see what a good job they have done. When this activity is completed, allow students to go to the computer lab. Open a graphics painting program and allow students to draw pictures of things they see, hear, taste, smell, or feel. (Alternatively, this can be done with crayons and paper.

Assessment

  • Answers to questions
  • Completion of experiments
  • Discussion questions
  • Accuracy of charts and graphs
  • Pictures drawn with graphics program or on paper

Supplemental information

Comments

This is a lesson that all students seem to enjoy. Although it takes a lot of preparation before it is taught to the class, it is well worth the time.

  • 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)

Kindergarten

  • 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.