Grade: Elementary
Subject: Health

#1305. The Five Senses

Health, level: Elementary
Posted Tue Nov 7 05:48:06 PST 2000 by Emily Zimmer (
Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, USA
Materials Required: poster, scissors, magazines, glue
Activity Time: 45 minutes-one hour
Concepts Taught: The Five Senses

Emily Zimmer
Grade: 1-3
Number of Students: 20-30
Time: 45 minutes-one hour

Topic: The Five Senses

Anticipatory Set:
Ask each student to close their eyes and think of a place that he/she enjoys visiting. Then ask them to imagine things that they could see, hear, touch, taste, and smell at this place. After about one to two minutes, ask the students to open their eyes. Then tell them to remember this experience because they will be using this information at a later time.

After a lecture and a group assignment concerning the human's five senses, second grade students will be able to identify the five senses and describe the characteristics of each sense, including examples of when they use each sense, with 100% accuracy.
The students will state examples of using their senses in their daily lives.
The students will compare and contrast the five senses and distinguish
between them.
The students will list ways that all humans are similar through their senses, using
the body parts that produce each sense.

Teacher Input:
Today we will be learning about our five senses, which are sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell. The senses of the body are the brain's link to the world that we live in. Everyone has the potential to use their five senses and this makes us all the same. Whether we are a boy or a girl, tall or short, shy or outgoing, we all are alike through our senses and the body parts that produce them. All of the five senses don't always work well. Some people may not be able to see, but they are able to hear, taste, touch, and smell. Some people are not able to hear, but they can see, taste, touch, and smell. They use their other senses to make up for the one(s) that they lost or don't have. This way, they experience what other people experience, just in a different way. We all have
eyes that allow us to see, taste buds that allow us to taste, fingers that help us touch, ears that allow us to hear, and a nose that allows us to smell. Whether these senses work well or not, we all have the body parts that go along with the senses, which provides the potential to see, hear, taste, touch, and smell. This makes us similar to one another.

We make discoveries and find out about the world by using our five senses. Each day provides something new and different that we can use our senses to learn about or experience. We can use sight to tell the difference between the sizes of objects. For example, a skyscraper is taller than an oak tree. We can tell the difference between things based on their shape and color. A basketball is shaped differently than a football and a green leaf looks different compared to the blue sky. We use our hearing abilities to hear cars and trucks that pass by, barking dogs, the songs of birds, footsteps, and the rain on the window. We listen to music and to people's voices. We use our sense of touch to tell the difference between wool, cotton, and silk. They all feel different. We
taste a bitter lemon, a sweet piece of candy, and a salty peanut. We smell flowers, perfume, and the dinner that mom or dad is cooking for us.

The teacher will share their favorite place to visit with the students and describe what they see, hear, taste, touch, and smell (this relates back to the anticipatory set - activity that started the lesson). The students will remember and relate their favorite place to the teacher's place. The teacher will ask the students to think about their favorite place again and share some of their experiences with their senses at this place with their neighbor sitting next to them.

Checking for Understanding:
The teacher will ask the students the following questions:

- What are the five senses?
- What body parts produce each sense?
- What are some examples of things in your lives that your senses help you
to experience?
- How are human being similar to one another in respect to their senses? are
there other examples that you can think of in which we are all the same?

Guided Practice:
(all supplies will be provided by the teacher: magazines, glue/paste, children's scissors,poster board)
Students are separated into five heterogeneous groups of four, five, or six (depending on class size) by the teacher. Each group will be assigned one of the five senses. They will then look in magazines and cut out any item that is related to their sense. They will paste the magazine clippings on a poster board and make a collage. Each group will present and share their collage with the class. The collages will be hung up around the room.

Independent Practice:
Each student will be asked to pick half of an hour of the night and observe themselves using their senses. They must write down all of the experiences that they had with their senses during or after their half of an hour (it is better to write them down during the experience so that the student does not forget). Each experience should be under its proper sense, that should be listed on the sheet of paper.


The senses are the brain's link to the world. Most of us have five senses: sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell. The senses receive messages from the world around us and they give us information about the world. These messages travel along the nerves in the body and to the brain. Sometimes we use our senses at the same time and sometimes we only use one sense at a time. An example when we use many senses at once would be bouncing a ball - touch, hearing, sight. An example when we use one sense would be looking at the stars at night - sight. Sometimes we use more than one sense and less of another, but each sense is very important because they all make us aware. Every minute of the day, your senses are working.

Some of the senses do not always work well because some people can not hear, some people can not see, or some people may not be able to smell very well. These are just some of the examples of the senses not working correctly. What senses we do not have, we make up for by using our other senses, which become stronger due to the lack of one of the senses. These people sharpen their other senses to cope with the loss of a particular sense. They can help their senses by wearing eye glasses if their sense of sight is failing or they can learn sign language if their sense of hearing is lost. People who are completely blind can use the Braille system to read. They use their sense of touch to feel the bumps on the paper that represent letters and words.

Body Parts and the Senses
People have the same body parts that produce our senses. This makes people the same, no matter what ethnicity, race, or gender they are or what characteristics define them.

The eyes give us our sense of sight. Light enters the eye and forms images. Then the eye changes these images into signals that tell the brain what you are seeing. We use the sense of sight to tell the differences between size, shape, and color, among others. We see everything in our environment.

The ears give us our sense of hearing. Vibrations enter our ears and are changed into signals that are sent to the brain. The brain translates the vibrations we hear and interprets sounds. We have two ears in order to hear exactly where a sound is coming from. We hear many sounds in our world, such as the sounds of cars and trucks, animals (dogs barking, birds singing, cats meowing), voices, rain, and music.

The nose gives us our sense of smell. When we inhale, detectors in our nose smell the odors. The nose detects 1,000 different smells and it is also used to take in air for the lungs that helps us breath. We smell many different things, such as food, perfume, and flowers.

Our tongue and taste buds give us our sense of taste. The taste buds sense one type of taste from another. This is how we know what we are eating, even if we can not see it. The sense of smell can also help us to tell the difference between types of foods by smelling the odor that the food carries.

Nerves in the skin act as sensors in order for us to touch and feel something. These sensors give the brain information about what we are touching. We can feel if something is hot or cold, wet or dry, and soft or hard. We can use any body part to touch, but we mainly use our fingers.

Helpful Books for Children to Learn About the Five Senses

Aliki. My Five Senses. Harper Collins Publishers: NY, 1989.
Ardley, Neil. The Science Book of the Senses. Gulliver Books: San Diego, 1992.
Byles, Monica. Experiment With Senses. Lerner Publications Company: Minnesota,1994.
Simon, Seymour. Professor I.Q. Explores the Senses. Boyds Mills Press: PA, 1993.

Helpful Internet Sites to Learn About the Five Senses

Seeing, Hearing, and Smelling the World
-covers brain functions and the senses
-lists and describes terms that deal with the senses of sight, hearing, and smell

Human Skin Models - the sense of touch - human
-provides books, charts, anatomical models
-describes the senses of sight, taste, touch, hearing, and smell and explains how the body parts that gives us these senses work

Organ Models for Kids, The Five Senses
-just for kids: anatomy lab, book and model kit, visible man and woman,
skeletal, torsos, senses and teeth, organs
-kids can learn about the human body at their own pace