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TeachNet NYC: Lesson Plans

What Sense Does It Make?

Project URL:

How it works:

By incorporating a multi-sensory approach and an experiential curriculum, this program enables kindergarten and first-grade students to understand how their senses function. They respond to the essential question: How do the senses of touch, taste, smell, sight, and hearing help us understand our world? Specifically, the students identify the five senses and their functions and explain what information each sense gives us. This program promotes scientific inquiry by collecting information gained through observation and experience. The students provide and use relevant theme vocabulary and categorize the new vocabulary appropriate to each sense.


Each lesson is introduced to the entire class in a group meeting that highlights one sense at a time. Both receptive and expressive language are used to determine the students' understanding of the concepts in the lessons and program. Word walls for each lesson provide a visual connection between the words and their characteristics and promote the development of vocabulary and spelling. The computer can be used in center time as a word processor for those students able to develop written stories regarding each sense. Others may want to use writing and painting to create a picture using Kid Pix software. 

Standards addressed:  

Students learn that humans and other organisms have senses that help them detect internal and external cues. They interpret a bar graph; sort and classify objects by shape, size and color; and collect data and record their results with tallies, blocks, and graphs. They show an understanding and appreciation of stories read; add to a growing vocabulary; and share ideas, facts, observations, and opinions with classmates and teacher.

Materials used: 
Required materials include a tape recorder and prerecorded listening tape, a "feely box", assorted flavored jelly beans, a variety of scented objects, a "pin the tail on the donkey" game with blindfold, a scanner or camera, a computer with Kid Pix software, and construction paper, scissors, glue, and markers.

The students:
The lessons in What Sense Does It Make? are geared to children with limited language skills and therefore rely on repetition.  Hence, there is a similar and easy format to follow for each lesson. Also, many aspects of each lesson incorporate hands-on activities.

Overall value:
This program is suitable for any early childhood kindergarten classroom. The students enjoy the hands-on aspect of each lesson and are eager to talk and learn more about each sense. This helps children with a limited understanding of the vocabulary. The students' interest is maintained through the different interactive activities provided in each lesson. Other teachers might want to adapt this for their class because it is fun -- for both the teacher and the children!

Depending on the students' abilities, teachers can vary the completion time of the program.


About the teacher:
Cindy Lewis teaches a self-contained early-childhood (K-1) special education class at PS 142 in lower Manhattan. Her students have been identified as speech and language impaired, learning disabled, emotionally disturbed, and multiply handicapped. She recently completed a year on sabbatical studying computers and the application of technology in the classroom.


Subject Areas: 
Social Studies
Special Education


Grade Levels: 



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