We use five senses to observe our
environment including sight, touch, smell, hearing, and taste. In
this activity children will learn to use two of these senses to describe
Of the five senses, humans, rely most heavily
on sight. When sight is missing, we substitute touch and hearing.
We determine color, shape, size, distance and sometimes texture with our
eyes. We can also examine things that are very large, or very small
(with microscopes or magnifying glass) or very far away (with a telescope).
With touch, we can determine texture (smooth, rough, sticky, hairy or fuzzy,
slimy, wet, soft, and hard), shape (if the item can be handled), and weight
and size within certain limits. We also feel heat, cold and pain.
- Discuss the five different
senses and what parts of the body are required to use that sense.
Remember the brain is the central area that interprets signals from the
rest of the body. Ear drums within the ear detect sound. Taste
buds on the tongue record the type of taste. The cells within the
walls of the nose detect different smells. Different parts of the
skin detect touch. Eyes use light to concentrate an image that is
transmitted to the brain.
- Describing the senses requires a vocabulary
that first graders are developing. Use items mentioned in the materials
to help students to find the “correct” word. For instance, have several
students feel an ice cube. They should feel the following sensations
of cold, sting, icy, or tingly. But to help describe the feeling
to another student they may say, “Very cold, like ice cream touching your
tongue.” Make students think about how else to describe this feeling.
- Use warm water to have students describe
water without feeling it. They will probably describe cool and not
even think about warm.
- A potted plant may be difficult because
the students will have to describe the pot, the plant, and the soil.
They may want to compare how the pot and the plant look together.
- If you have two potatoes (red and
Idaho, for instance), ask students why they are both called a potato, when
they look so different.