Our Senses

Hard, Soft, Squishy, Crumbly

  • Time Length
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    < 1 hour

  • Mess Level
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    A Little Messy

  • Cost

    Materials or Fees

  • Difficulty
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    easy

Question and Wonder:

  • What do you notice about your found objects, just using your eyes?
  • What are some of the similarities that you notice? What are some of the differences?
  • Once you feel the objects, do you think you will find other similarities and differences?
  • How do you think the different objects will feel when you touch them? Make a guess and give each sensation a name. (“squishy” or “hard” or “prickly” etc.)

Imagine and Design:

  • Trace around your hand – one hand per piece of paper. Use one sheet of paper per grouping. How many “touch categories” can you create? How many hands will you draw?
  • What are your categories? Label your sheets.
  • Try classifying things into groups. Which things are small? Big? Green? Soft?
  • What will you pick if you were looking for something that crumbles?
  • Imagine a story where soft things are hard and cold things are hot. What would happen in the story?

Test and Discuss:

  • How do you describe objects that fit into multiple categories?
  • Did you know what the item would feel like before you touched it? How?
  • What other senses did you use finding the objects? Labeling them?
  • Work with a sibling or grown up and put items one at a time in a sock or bag. Can you tell what they are simply by feeling them? Which was the easiest to tell? The hardest? Why?

Did you Know?

Touch is thought to be the first sense that humans develop, according to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Touch consists of several distinct sensations communicated to the brain through specialized neurons in the skin. Pressure, temperature, light touch, vibration, pain and other sensations are all part of the touch sense and are all attributed to different receptors in the skin.

Touch isn’t just a sense used to interact with the world; it also seems to be very important to a human’s well-being. For example, touch has been found to convey compassion from one human to another.

Touch can also influence how humans make decisions. Texture can be associated with abstract concepts and touching something with a texture can influence the decisions a person makes, according to six studies by psychologists at Harvard University and Yale University, published in the June 24, 2010, issue of the journal Science.

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