The Five Senses
- Investigate the taste buds and the four major tastes of sweet, sour, salty and bitter by trying different foods.
- Play with materials such as modelling clay, dough, water, sand and uncooked rice. Students categorise, discuss the uses of, and describe by touch the different materials.
- Cook foods that change in taste, sight or smell when they are cooked, such as popcorn, toast or eggs.
- Plan a ‘sensory garden’. Find out what plants feel, smell, look and taste ‘special’. Decide on a good place to create the garden at your school or centre.
- Students label diagrams of the eyes and ears.
- Investigate the similarities and differences between specific animals’ sense organs and those of humans.
- Investigate if students are colour blind (this condition rarely affects girls). Type ‘colour vision testing made easy’ into a search engine for an online testing program.
- Smell a number of objects such as mint, eucalyptus oil, perfume, pepper etc. Students categorise by the type of smell or rate in order of preference. Repeat with different objects to taste, touch and feel.
Society and Environment
- Discuss people who have lost one or more of their senses. How do blind or deaf people communicate?
- Students smell different spices. Discuss where they come from and how they are used in foods from around the world.
- Students experience being a blind person by trying to navigate a simple layout while wearing a blindfold.
- Students sit on the grass in the playground and identify and list sounds they can hear, things they can see and what they can feel.
Technology and Enterprise
- Using coloured cellophane™, students design and create glasses to change the way they view things.
- Discuss technologies that help us to see and hear better.
- Create playdough, using added ingredients to create texture when students make objects.
Art and Craft
- Use a small mirror for each student to draw his/her self-portrait. Ensure students include as many details as they can.
- Make a pleasant-smelling closet freshener using lavender or an orange with cloves.
- Create ‘scratch ’n’ sniff’ stamps or stickers by adding different drops of essence, such as lemon or peppermint, to non-toxic paints.
- Students cut different noses, mouths, hands, eyes, ears and bodies from colour magazines. They glue them together to create ‘silly-senses creatures’.
- Make a class ‘feely’ book by cutting and gluing materials of different textures to pages. Students write the name of each material and how it feels to touch.
- Use hands, fingers, feet and toes to paint and draw with. Use different media so that students ‘feel’ things as well as see them.
Music and Movement
- Sing or say songs or rhymes about the senses; e.g. hearing (‘I hear thunder’), seeing (‘A sailor went to sea’, ‘Five fat sausages’), touching (‘Pat a cake, pat a cake’), smelling (‘Three little kittens’) and taste (‘Five little speckled frogs’, ’Little Jack Horner’).
- Students experiment with different types of musical instruments that use sight, sound and touch.
- Learn to sing a song using sign language.
- Identify the deepest, loudest, highest and softest sounds in a selection of sounds listened to.
Dance and Drama
- A student mimes smelling different fragrances such as flowers, smoke, perfume, dirty socks, rotten eggs etc. Others try to guess what smell the student is experiencing.
- As a class, listen to various types of music to move to in a variety of ways—fast, slow, happy, sad etc.
- Students role-play being surprised by a sudden sound, listening to relaxing music, seeing a distressing sight, smelling freshly-baked biscuits etc.
- In pairs, students create a dance where one has to look at and mirror the movements of the other.
Health and Physical Education
- Investigate the importance of wearing sunglasses to protect eyes from glare and safety glasses for protection during welding etc.
- Discuss our sense of touch in relation to skin. Discuss how skin has other functions, including keeping us cool (when we sweat) and protecting the blood vessels and nerves under it.
- Discuss the safety aspect of touching or tasting things that are very hot; e.g. sipping a drink which could be hot, avoiding steam from a boiling kettle or pot.
- Identify sounds which indicate danger or safety; e.g. fire engine siren, police car siren, ambulance siren, fire alarm.
- Identify how sports referees or umpires use whistles to direct players’ attention to a foul etc. and then often use hand signals to indicate the offence.
Chance and Data
- Students count the number of colours they can see in a collection of shells. They compare the sizes and shapes of the shells and sort them by different criteria.
- Students sort blocks or coins and order them from smallest to largest.
- Graph different eye colours, foods students like or don’t like to taste, colours they like to look at, sounds they like or don’t like to hear, television programs they like to see etc.
- Identify the similarities and differences among specific objects and shapes.
- Students cut out coloured shapes from magazines and glue to cover a 2-D or 3-D shape.
- Estimate the quantity of a particular shape that would fit in a larger shape.
- Students identify shapes such as triangles, rectangles and squares by touch alone.
- Categorise pictures of animals’ eyes or ears from largest to smallest.
- Use hands (touch) to measure objects. Students write sentences on colourful hand shapes; for example, ‘My desk is 10 hands long’.
- Identify the temperature of three different pans of water—cold, fairly warm and room temperature. (Take care.)
- Count the number of eyes or ears on specific animals to practise counting by twos.
- Do the same with fingers and toes of people (sense of touch features) to practise counting by fives and tens. Use insects’ and spiders’ ‘feet’ to count by sixes and eights.
- Students estimate the number of objects they can see or feel in a set before counting.
- Discuss the senses of hearing, seeing and feeling. Then ask students to listen to the number of claps, stamps of the foot, clicks of fingers without looking; repeat, but look without listening (hands over ears with claps etc. performed silently).
Working Mathematically/Appreciating Mathematics
- Students create mathematical questions related to the senses. Collate the information. Question examples could include: ‘How many people in your family wear glasses to help them see?’, ‘What are two safety rules to follow to stop us from burning ourselves in the kitchen?’ (pot handles turned inwards, using oven gloves etc.).
- Write a narrative about something that happened one hot summer’s day.
- Students write a description of something without naming it, describing it in terms of the five senses. They read it to a friend, who has to guess what is being described.
- Write a sense poem in the form of an acrostic, using the letters in a season of the year. Students describe what they see, hear, smell, taste and touch during that season.
- Write simple sentences to create a book about senses; for example: ‘I can smell … , I can hear … , I can see … , I can touch … , I can taste … ‘. Draw coloured pictures to match.
- Complete a senses Y-chart to describe an object, animal or person.
Speaking and Listening
- Play sound bingo: Record a number of different sounds. Give students bingo cards with the names of the sounds written on them. Students listen carefully, identify the sounds and cover the matches.
- Go for a ‘listening walk’ around the school.
- Place different items in ‘feely’ boxes. Students try to describe what they are feeling and identify the objects.
- Label five large boxes with the names of the five senses. Students bring objects from home to sort among the boxes. Students explain why each object belongs in that box. Objects could include magazine pictures of favourite things to see, recipes of favourite dishes to taste, a postcard from a holiday destination seen, a photograph of their pet that they like to pat etc.
- Play I-spy: ‘I spy with my little eye/nose/mouth something that looks/smells/tastes like …’
- Create a collection of words for each sense or sense organ:
- – hearing; e.g. scream, shriek, whisper, giggle, laugh, cry, groan, shout, mumble, crash, bang
– taste; e.g. sweet, savoury, sour, salty, spicy, creamy, cheesy, hot, peppery
– touch; e.g. soft, hard, rough, smooth, sharp, blunt, fluffy, hairy, cold, hot, warm, icy
– sight; e.g. blink, wink, dark, light, glary, gloomy, stare, look, see, notice, observe
– smell; e.g. sniff, ‘Achoo!’, perfume, scent, rotten, stale, fresh, fruity, spicy, sweet, musty
- Students use two or more adjectives to describe things they can see; e.g. ‘The pencil is long, red and blunt’.
Reading and Viewing
- Play ‘Memory’ by placing a number of items on a tray, giving the students time to view and remember the items, then covering the tray. Students try to recall as many items as they can.
- Read stories involving the five senses such as Brown bear, brown bear, what do you see? by Bill Martin Jr and Eric Carle.
- Read The magic porridge pot (traditional). Discuss how the porridge may have smelled and tasted to the hungry girl and her mother.
- Look at pictures of optical illusions.
- Read and discuss The story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf. Identify the smells mentioned in the story.
- View two similar pictures to find the differences between them; e.g. a girl in one picture has spots on her dress and in the second picture the spots are missing.
- Look for articles or advertisements in magazines and newspapers related to the senses; e.g. guide dogs for the blind, spectacle ads, hearing aid ads, how a family was saved from a burning house by hearing the smoke alarm. Create a display or class book.
- Use an overhead projector to create objects, shapes, birds or animals with hands for the students to see and identify.
- Use a ‘colouring’ computer program such as Paintbrush™ to create colourful artworks to look at and display.
- Listen to a story on an audio tape rather than in a book. Discuss after listening to gauge how well students listened