This is a great lesson to teach students about their senses and how valuable they are in their observations.
Grade Levels: K-5
Naturalists use all their senses to explore the world. This activity encourages students to describe objects using their sense of touch.
Discuss how a scientist may use their different senses to learn things about the natural world with the class.
For example many ornithologists, bird researchers, study bird songs to learn more about the animals. Botanists use their sense of smell to learn more about plants. Ask students for more examples.
cardboard boxes with hand sized hole cut in one side
various natural objects that are interesting to touch
(snake shed, pine cone, skull, feathers, fur, large seed pods, turtle shell are a few examples)
Place a different object in each one of the boxes. Make sure the boxes are closed and the hole is located on the side of the box. Sometimes it is a good idea to tape a piece of paper on the top of the box to discourage students from looking into the box through the hole cut in the side. Write a number on each of the boxes so the students may reference them on their paper.
Each student takes turns touching the objects in the boxes. No talking, peeking, or showing each other what they have written!
They then write down a description of each object. Was it rough, smooth, hard, soft, big, small, bumpy? Encourage the children to be as detailed as possible. Have the children guess what is in each of the boxes. To add time to the activity, ask each student to try and draw what is in the boxes by feel alone.
Have a class discussion about their experiences. Have the students share descriptions of the objects. What did they learn about each object by touching it?
Reveal each of the objects. Were any of the students correct? How did seeing the object compare to how it felt? What would the benefits be for a scientist to use all his senses when learning about something?