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Classroom Happenings: The Five Senses

The Steward School
A hands-on lesson for JK students
A special guest visited junior kindergarten students recently, and her playful approach to the subject of the five senses made for a fun, energetic morning. Experiential learning is an essential part of a Steward education, and as our youngest Spartans discovered, our five senses are used every day in lots of ways. 

“Everybody … sit…on the rug…” whispered Miss Pamela, a museum educator from the Children’s Museum of Richmond, her eyes wide with excitement. Then, her voice slowly rising to a dramatic, operatic pitch, she waved her arms and sang loudly, “Let’s learn about … the five …senses!”  

This stage-worthy teacher was invited to speak to the JKers about the five senses, a topic they’d been learning about for several weeks. Junior Kindergarten Teachers Katy Koppanyi and Robbin Hataway and Junior Kindergarten Aide Amy Harris have been teaching the children about apples and how to describe them using all of their senses: What does an apple look like? How does an apple feel? Is it light or heavy, smooth or rough? How does it smell? What does it taste like? Are apples sweet or sour … or both? What sound does an apple make when you bite into it? 

Miss Pamela quickly ran behind a low bookshelf to gather some items from a basket she’d brought along. Peeking around the corner, she asked the children, “We’re going to learn about a hundred senses this morning, right?” Squealing with delight, they giggled and exclaimed, “Noooooooo! Five!” 

Using pictures, props, and lots of singing and dancing, Miss Pamela shared how our five senses help us every day. Pointing to an illustration of a nose, she asked, “What do you like to sniff, sniff, sniff with your nose? Start with the words, ‘I like to smell …’ and tell me.” Hands shot up, and one by one, the students happily shared their favorite scents.“I like to smell cupcakes!” said one boy. A classmate chimed in, “I like to smell flowers!” and another student said sweetly, “I like to smell donuts.” 

Miss Pamela then had the students close their eyes and try to identify a “mystery” scent that she placed under their noses (Play-Doh). She also talked about the sense of touch (“Run your hands along the floor. Is it bumpy? Smooth? Soft?”) as the students eagerly explored their classroom with new perspectives. A cat-and-dog puppet duo made for a charming way to illustrate the texture of their “fur.” 

She went on to talk about the sense of taste, explaining the miracle of taste buds that can differentiate between sweet, salty, bitter, and umami flavors. 

A favorite experiment involved the sense of hearing. Again instructing the students to close their eyes, Miss Pamela created several sounds: clapping, stomping, and snapping, and asked the students to identify what they heard. 

“This was a fantastic experience for our junior kindergarteners,” said Ms. Koppanyi. “Through intentional opportunities such as this one, our youngest students play, investigate, and reflect … and have lots of fun!”

View the Steward Snaps from CMOR Visits JK. 


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