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Five Senses Observation

Above Image: A boy playfully holds tomatoes in front of his eyes © Ljupco, iStockphoto.com

What is it?

The Five Senses Observation learning strategy encourages students to use all of their senses to gather information and to use the skill of observing to learn about objects, events and/or places in their environment.

Why use it?

  • To understand how we use our senses to gather information to learn about our world.
  • To provide structure for active student discussions about their observations and perceptions of materials, objects and/or events.
  • To practice the skill using appropriate vocabulary related to their senses.

How do I use it?

  • Prior to using the Five Senses Observation strategy, introduce its purpose to students and provide a structured example to teach and model expected behaviours.
  • Introduce or review the language of the five senses and how we use the senses to experience and learn about our world.
  • Provide students opportunities to practice using their all of their senses to make purposeful observations about a given object or place.
  • Provide individual students with a Five Senses Observation Chart or alternatively, use one Five Senses Observation Chart with the whole class to make observations.
  • Encourage students to use appropriate vocabulary to describe their observations.
  • As a class discuss the different kinds of information that students were able to contribute from each of their senses.

Tips for success

  • Create a word wall of descriptive words that can be used to describe objects, materials and events.

Variations

  • Have students create their own observation chart which includes spaces for making observations using each of their five senses.
  • Have students make observations of an object with their eyes closed and then discuss how people who do not have the use of one or more of their senses rely on their other senses to get information. (e.g., how does a blind person recognize what something looks like?)
  • Put an object into an opaque bag or empty box so that students can only use one sense, such as their sense of touch, smell, or hearing, to make observations and describe the objects.

Tools and Templates

Five Senses Observation Chart - Picture option pdf doc

Five Senses Observation - Template pdf doc

Five Senses Observation - Seeds in My Environment pdf doc

Adapted from IdeaPark by Let’s Talk Science.