Touchy, Touchy! Part Two

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SWBAT determine if a given object is soft, rough, sharp, bumpy, smooth, or sticky by touching and describing a variety of objects presented to them.

Big Idea

Many kids enter kindergarten never having experiences that allow them to explore their senses. This lesson targets the understanding of their sense of touch.


5 minutes

This lesson is the second half of our lesson on touch. The first half includes the "Explore" and "Explain" sections. This part of the lesson does not contain those sections because it is an extension of what we've already learned. Together, the two parts make a single 7e learning experience.

Touchy, Touchy, Part One

I have the kids gather on the floor and we review what we did in part one of this lesson. We go over our branch chart and talk about the objects we touched during our exploration. I ask the kids how each of the objects felt. I do not read the heading words (rough, smooth, hard, soft, bumpy, sharp) to the kids while reviewing the map. I want to see how much of the vocabulary to this lesson that they can remember on their own. They usually end up helping each other.

I do this because I want the kids to develop their conceptual understanding in conjunction with developing the vocabulary that goes with sense of touch. I connect this lesson to a grammar lesson on the use of adjectives to describe objects. This lesson provides an excellent ELA tie-in.

I name the object under each heading and ask the kids to tell me how each felt. Many of them use the descriptive words that are used in the headings.

It sounds something like this:

"Show me a thumb up next to your chest if you remember the cotton ball we touched yesterday." The kids put their thumb up against their chests.

"Hmmm...Think silently in your brain. Who can tell me how the cotton ball felt when you touched it?" I wait a few seconds while they think. "Turn and tell your talking partner how you think the cotton ball felt when you touched it."

The kids turn and tell their talking partners. I have them do this so my shy kids, low kids and second language learners have an opportunity to support their language and vocabulary before possibly being called on to answer. This provides a safety net for them that they desperately need. I then pull a name stick from the name stick can. I use a name stick can to prevent subconscious bias in calling on students.

I call on a random student and she says, "Soft." I ask, "What made you think it was soft?" She says, "It felt like a kitten." My thought to this was, "Nice analogy!" so I responded with, " I like how you made a connection between two things that are soft. That is what science is all about!"

We review the rest of the items that we experienced in the same manner.

This half of the lesson will now take what they learned in the previous part and make use of the information in an extension experience.


Elaborate with Additional Embedded Exploration

20 minutes

I ask the kids how the sense of touch can help us as scientists to learn about things. I give each table captain an object to take back to their table. The kids use their sense of touch to describe the object they have been given. The objects are VERY unusual. 

I ask them how touching it could help us IF we knew it was safe to touch?

I tell them that I do know that all of the objects are safe to touch, but if I wasn't sure I would use special gloves. I also reassure them that I will never bring and unsafe item into the classroom.

I have them take turns touching the unfamiliar objects. Once everyone has had a turn to touch the object at their table, I ask them to think SILENTLY in their heads about how it feels. I tell them to share their thoughts with their talking partner. I call on random students using the name sticks from the name stick can.

I have the child answer the question (I restate it) in a complete sentence. If necessary I give them the sentence stem, "The object felt ________ ."

This supports independent learning, speaking and listening, and stating and defending. All very important skills for the future in life and education.

I write each table color on chart paper and list the words they use to describe the the object they were given. They use the senses of sight, smell and hearing to help describe the object. This starts bringing the senses together for the purpose of making observations.

To get them thinking about using all the senses they learned about up to this point, I have them do a Total Physical Response (TPR) for hearing, seeing, and touching. The video in the resources shows how we do it in our classroom. TPR is great for kinesthetic young learners!


10 minutes

I have the table captains take the science journals to the table. Once they place the journals on each student's spot, I have one table at a time go and sit down.

In the science journal, I have students draw a picture of something they touched and write the describing word that goes with it.

For instance, one child wrote that she went to lunch and touched pizza. It was soft and squishy.

Since it is still early in the year, I write words on the board for the kids to copy into their journals.  I write the words pizza, soft, squishy on the board. I do the same for the other objects the kids mention.

This allows the kids independence in the activity while providing the support they need.

Once all of the journal entries are completed, I have the table captains collect the journals.

The kids like up for lunch after they take their turn touching the objects.