Wow!: The Most Interesting Book You’ll Ever Read about the Five Senses, written by Trudee Romanek and illustrated by Rose Cowles, is a non-fiction reader full of fun facts and lessons about the five senses that can be enjoyed by a wide range of elementary students. This is the seventh book in the “Mysterious You” series, which keeps kids entertained by including fun pictures and diagrams with simple kid-friendly experiments, and lots of facts scattered throughout it (perfect for children who don’t want to read a book from front to back in one sitting!)
Wow! is split into seven sections, and explains how the brain works to help people experience sight, sound, taste, smell, and touch. Each section includes an explanation of how the senses work, why they work that way, fun stories about a scientific experiment or invention based on a sense (e.g. a pair of talking glasses invented by a 15 year-old in 1998 to help the visually impaired), a “You Try It” experiment, and plenty more interesting facts. One fun fact mentions that a gourmet dinner shouldn’t be wasted on a chicken because “you have thousands of taste buds that let you taste food. The average chicken has just 24” (p. 21). Finally, an important aspect of learning about the senses is how they all work together. The last section of the book describes that the senses are designed to compliment each other. “You combine the information from your senses every moment that you’re awake. Turn off the volume during a scary movie or close your eyes on a roller-coaster ride, and you might be surprised at the difference” (p. 38).
This book might be hard for younger elementary students to read on their own, but it provides a lot of great information and experiments that teachers can share and use with the lower grades. Wow! is a perfect book to keep on the bookshelves of upper-elementary classrooms because the material is easy for older children to flip through and stay interested in, and the “You Try It” experiments can fit well into lessons about scientific investigation. Specific SOLs that this book could correlate to include:
K.2 (a) five senses and corresponding sensing organs
1.1 The student will conduct investigations in which (a) differences in physical properties are observed using the senses; and (b) simple tools are used to enhances observations
2.1 The student will conduct investigations in which (a) observations is differentiated from personal interpretation, and conclusions are drawn based on observations
3.1 The student will plan and conduct investigations in which (a) predictions and observations are made
4.1 The student will plan and conduct investigations in which (b) hypotheses are formulated based on cause-and-effect relationships
This word search can help with vocabulary words related to the senses.
The Five Senses Lab is a good science exploration for early elementary students to help better familiarize them with their own senses and how they can make the world around them seem more “real”.