My Five Senses

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Students will be able to name the five sentences and the body structures associated with each sense by classifying items by which senses we use to experience them.

Big Idea

Observational skills are key to science exploration. This lesson gives students an introductory experience with the fives senses, preparing them to be successful scientists.


15 minutes

I incorporate snack into to the beginning of this lesson.  I give each of the students a mini-orange or apple (depending upon what is available).  You could swap out any other type of fruit, or vegetable for this part of the lesson.  You will also want a piece of chart paper.  On the paper, draw a picture of the body structure associated with each of the five senses.  I leave space to write next to each one. 

I pass out the snack to the students and I talk them through a five senses experience with the fruit.  I say to them, I am going to ask you some questions.  We are not going to say our answers out loud yet.  I want you just to think about them in your head. 

When you look at the apple, what do you see?  What color is it?  What shape is it?  (I give the students time to think about these questions before moving on)

When you feel the apple, what do you feel?  Is it smooth, rough, bumpy, cool, hot?  Does it feel round or square?

Now, we are going to bite into the apple.  I want you to listen when we do.  What does it sound like?

Take another bite.  How does it taste?  Sweet or sour? 

Now, put the apple up to your nose.  What doe it smell like?  Does it smell sweet or sour?  Does it even have a smell?

I give the students time to finish their snack. After they finish the snack, I gather them in front of the easel with the chart paper.  I then ask them the same questions as above.  This time, I record their answers on the chart paper.  I ask them the question and I have them tell me where on the paper I should write their responses.  When I say, When you look at the apple,  what do you see?  I ask them, where should I write this information, next to the ear, nose, hand, mouth or eye?  What body part do you use to look at something?  I want the students to make the connection between the sense and the organ that is used in that sense. I then record their answers in that space.

We go through all the information, until every area is filled in on the chart.  This activity helps the students to make basic connections between the topic we are covering today and something that is familiar to them (eating an apple).  This is especially important for my English Language Learners. The language barrier is a hurdle for ELL students in terms of accessing the content.  A familiar "hook", will help grab their attention and serve as a foundation for future learning.




Direct Instruction

15 minutes

For this portion of the lesson, you will need an introductory book about the five senses.  I like to use the book  The Five Senses from the It's Science series.  This book is available from Amazon.  If you have another book that you like to use, that's great.  The book should just give an overview of the five senses.  We will be exploring each senses in more detail in subsequent lessons.

I gather the students in front of my chair and I say to them, We know that scientists need to explore things to learn more about them.  Today, we are going to be scientist learning about our five senses.  I would like to read a book to you about our five senses.  We are going to be thinking about how our senses help us learn about things.  Listen carefully, so you can gather information just like a scientist.

I read the story to the students.  I do not go in to detail about the experiments on the pages because we will be doing similar activities in upcoming lessons.

After we have completed the book, we move back to our seats for guided practice.

Guided Practice

15 minutes

For this part of the lesson, you will need the Five Senses Sort included as a PDF with this lesson.  I run off one for each of my table groups using a colored printer.  I laminate the cards for durability before I cut them apart.

I distribute the cards to each table groups an I explain to them, You will be sorting some picture cars.  I want you to sort the cards by which sense you would experience the item.  There might be more than one, but I want you to think about what is the main sense that you would use.  For example, there might be a picture of some grapes.  I can see the grapes or feel the grapes or smell the grapes, but to really experience the grapes, I would probably use my sense of taste the most.  I want you to go around the table, take a card and tell what is on the card.  Then tell what sense helps you experience it the most.  Then put that picture under the correct structure for that sense.  

The students begin and I converse with them as they are sorting the cards.  I challenge the students to think about what sense they would use the most to experience the item.  Often times they will go with sight instead of thinking through the other senses.   The Five Senses sorts allows students to organize and analyze data about the five senses.  This builds their skills around analyzing and interpreting data, just like a real scientist!

After the students complete the sort, we collect the cards and prepare for independent practice.  

Independent Practice and Informal Assessment

10 minutes

For this part of the lesson, your will need the What Sense Would You Use activity sheet included as a PDF with this lesson.  The students will need crayons to complete the activity. 

I distribute the activity sheet to the students and I explain to them, We are going to think about how we use our senses to explore things.  We are going to look at the each item in the box and decide what senses we use to explore it.  We will then color in the structure that we use to experience it next to the box. 

We go through a couple examples together and then the students are set on their own to complete the activity sheet.  as they complete their work, I talk through with them what senses they decided they use.  Sometimes the students miss a sense and I challenge them to think about if they would use that sense.  Often times they miss the obvious one "sight",   The sense of touch can also be challenging for them.  This activity challenges my students, but that's okay.  The ability to analyze information is an important skill that I really want them to develop.

After the students have shown me their work and we discuss it, they place it in their mailboxes.  To wrap up the lesson, I partner up the students and have them tell their partner something they learned about the five senses.