In my five senses unit, I dedicate two lessons for each sense. The first lesson is an inquiry lesson in which the students engage in an experiment to trigger questioning and build background knowledge. The second lesson shares more information about that specific sense to help expand the students' understanding.
To begin the lesson, I take a piece of chart paper and I ask the students, What do you know about your sense of touch? I record the responses on the paper. I don't worry if the students do not have a lot of information to share. This will expand and grow after their exploration and learning about this sense.
For this activity, you will need materials that have a variety of textures: For example:
I cut the materials into two inch squares. For each table group, you will need a brown paper bag that has one of each square of material. You will also need a small container with another complete set of materials that match those put in the brown paper bag. For example, if there is a square of burlap in the brown bag, there should be a square of burlap in the small container for my table. Make sure there are several different materials. I have five students at a table, so I have about 8 sets of material in the bag and container so the last student to pick still has a variety of materials left to choose from.
The students will also need the recording sheet included as a PDF with this lesson. I distribute it to the students.
I say to the students, Today, we are going to use our sense of touch to find things that have the same texture. There is a container of materials on your table. These materials have lots of different textures. I am going to have one person at each table pick up the container, that person will pick out one square from the container, they will pass it to the next person and they will pick. Keep going until everyone has picked a square from the container.
I tell the students who is to start the container at each table. After the students have picked a square, I continue with the directions. Now, I want you to put that piece of material in front of you. On your table is a brown paper bag. It has the same materials that you just chose inside of it. You are going to use your sense of touch to try to find the material that matches yours. For example, if I picked the bubble wrap, I need to reach in the bag and without looking, I need to find the square of material that feels just like my bubble wrap. If I think I have the right material, I pull out my hand and I check. If I am right, I keep the material. If I am wrong, I put it back in the bag and pass it on to the next person. I will get another chance when the bag comes around the table again.
I have the students begin and I circulate around the room to assist the students, making sure that they are not peeking as they reach into the bag. See video. After everyone has their material matched up, I give them the next set of instructions.
Now, you are going to glue your two pieces of material on your recording sheet. Glue one in each square. Then, you need to come up with a word that describes how your materials feel. Do they feel scratchy, smooth, bumpy, soft, rough or something else? Raise your hand and I will come and write it on your recording sheet for you.
After we clean up, I have the students share the word that they chose to describe their material.
I then ask the following questions:
Did some of the materials feel the same even though they were different materials? Many different things are rough or smooth or soft.
What sense did you use to tell you that you had a "match". Would you know for sure if you didn't use your sense of sight?
Do you think the skin on fingers can feel better than the skin on our feet? Would have you been able to find the match using your feet? Why do you think the skin on our hands is more sensitive than the skin on our feet?
How does our sense of touch keep us safe?
Some animals have structures other than skin that help them touch. For example, a cat can feel things with it's whiskers. They can tell how small an area is by passing through it with their whiskers. Why would this be helpful for a cat? Think about what cats like to chase for their prey, or what they like to eat.
What is one thing you could tell your family about your sense of touch.?
To close the lesson, we revisit the chart paper that we used at the start of the lesson, and I invite the students to add more information to the chart. Already, they are able to expand on the ideas that were originally recorded.